Women’s human security rights in the Arab world: on nobody’s agenda

Security breakdown has wreaked havoc with women’s lives in Arab transition countries, but it is hardly recognized in international debates on gender based violence, says Mariz Tadros

Four children holding hands walking away from the camera, wearing T-shirts with Arabic text on.

The T-shirts read: human dignity, bread, social justice and freedom. Photo: Nefssi

This is the first of two articles by Mariz Tadros discussing the disjunctures between the current international discourse on gender based violence and women’s realities on the ground in ‘Arab transition’ contexts.

Sometime past midnight in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday the 27th November, activists reported that a security vehicle dumped a group of women in the middle of the desert in Egypt. Security officers had arrested them the day before for protesting against the proposed protest law, which they believed would infringe on citizens’ freedom of expression. Some of the women arrested were also activists in anti-sexual harassment groups such as Fouada Watch and Opantish. Captured footage showing how roughly they were treated seemed déjà vu of the repressive security apparatus handling of dissent during Mubarak’s and Morsi’s authoritarian regimes. 

However, what is striking is that the arrests of the protestors did not stir the mass mobilization of the citizenry to rise in anger, raising the troubling question of why not?

The truth of the matter is that almost three years of having suffered from the withdrawal of the security apparatus from assuming their role in protecting citizens, most Egyptians now yearn more than anything for an end to what is locally referred to as al infelat al amny –  security breakdown/laxity. Human security –  the idea of putting the security apparatus in the service of people’s needs for safety and protection, rather than the security interests of a ruling regime or the interests of international actors, has never had a chance to thrive in Egypt –  or in any other country that has experienced revolts.

 

Read more: http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mariz-tadros/women%E2%80%99s-human-security-rights-in-arab-world-on-nobodys-agenda?utm_source=50.50+list&utm_campaign=1a1e81e738-RSS_5050_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_89d6c8b9eb-1a1e81e738-407822177

 

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