Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue Issues a Report on the Denial of Inheritance to Women and Demands Advocacy campaigns from the Ministry of Endowment and the Church to Confront the Phenomenon in Upper Egypt

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Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Press Release

The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue issued its report on the phenomenon of denying women their right to inheritance as one of the human rights violations of which Egyptian women are subjected to in some areas of Upper Egypt, which involves a blatant form of discrimination against women and injustice contrary to all religions, heavenly laws and all international conventions, treaties and conventions.

The 16-page report reviewed Egypt’s international obligations regarding women’s rights, legislative amendments to reduce the phenomenon and the state’s position on it, as well as a number of cases in which a violation of the right to inheritance was recorded.

Some studies have confirmed that about 95% of women in Sohag and Qena provinces do not inherit according to custom and traditions that do not favour inheritance of women for fear of inheritance by their husbands and children, which may be passed on to people who are foreign to the family.

Some families may use what is known as “Radawy”  which is a form of compensation with their daughters, where the female is compensated with a sum of money instead of their right to inheritance, and there are many witnesses and cases of women who have waived their rights to inheritance as a result of the pressures of brothers and mothers in exchange for small sums of money as their comepensation.

In some villages in Sohag province, the principle is that women claiming inheritance are killed is widespread, according to a 2008 study by the Ministry of Justice that approximately 8,000 murders are committed annually against females and males among members of the same family because of inheritance.

The report stressed that the phenomenon is not related to the enactment of legislation or laws as much as to the standing of customs and traditions inherited that violate the application of Law No. 2019 of 2017, which criminalized deliberately refraining from handing over one of the heirs his legitimate share of inheritance, withholding inheritance bond or refraining from handing it over if requested from  any of the legitimate heirs, which requires intensive activity targeting the cultural and social aspect in order to contain the phenomenon and eliminate it.

The report stressed that judicial and security solutions alone are not sufficient to address the phenomenon in the absence of strong and clear mechanisms to change these social and cultural heritages.

The report recommended a number of recommendations and addressed to the Ministry of Endowments and the Egyptian Church, where the Forum called for the launch of campaigns, seminars and advocacy speeches to inform the people of Upper Egypt of the seriousness of this phenomenon and its discrimination and violation of the provisions of religion, as well as to hold workshops showing the provisions of sharia in the issue of women’s inheritance.

The report called for the issuance of laws requiring the heirs to provide an inventory of the deceased’s estate if any as a prerequisite for achieving the information and inheritance of their inheritance and assigning experts, if possible, to determine the share of each of the heirs    realistically on this estate with a severe penalty report in the event of hiding any information or documents concerning this estate.

The report stressed the need to enforce of Article III of the Constitution by speeding up the issuance of the Personal Status of Christians Law, which contains clear provisions for the distribution of inheritance to Christians in accordance with the principles of Christian law, and until then the regulations governing the personal status of Christians applicable in matters of inheritance, most notably the List of Orthodox Copts issued in 1938 and its amendments.

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