On Wed 22/2/2023, The Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development (ECHRD) issues its report on women’s rights under the new Personal Status Law, which deals with the rights that women will acquire under the new Personal Status Law through discussing: the meaning of the personal status, its law and beginning, the main objective of the law, the committee that prepared it, its composition, and the most prominent of what has been drafted so far, the most prominent features of the new Personal Status Law, and new conditions for marriage within it, women’s rights under the new personal status law and women’s support for the law, and finally, the rights of the child in the new personal status law.
The aim is to prepare an integrated personal status project that seeks to abolish the plurality of the current laws, which amount to 6 laws. The old law is not organized and comprehensive for all matters, which makes judges return back to Hanafi perspective. The law will put solutions to all problems to facilitate the judges’ works.
Moreover, it aims to preserve families through the Egyptian family support fund. It ensures the families support in critical times. The government contributes to this fund as much as citizens contribute to it.
The increase in divorce cases in Egypt is also one of the main motives for establishing such a law in order to reduce them, as divorce cases in Egypt in the previous years reached large numbers.
The report indicated that statistics indicated that there have been more than 5 million divorce cases since 1965 until now. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed that Egypt registered 254,777 divorce cases in 2021, compared to 22,239 cases during 2020, an increase of 14.7% compared to the previous year. This means that there is a divorce case that occurs every two minutes, and between 25 to 28 cases every hour, and 630 cases per day, an average of 18,500 cases per month.
The most prominent features of the new draft personal status law:
- The law aims to formulate an integrated and detailed personal status that it is easy for everyone to understand and assimilate its texts, especially individuals who are not working in legal matters.
- The new draft law addresses problems that previous laws did not address, like engagement problems and customary marriage.
- Create a family welfare fund and an insurance policy to support it in both expenses and challenges related to personal status matters.
- The state is committed to providing financing sources and support the fund.
- A law granting new powers for judges that dealing with urgent cases in order to support the family.
- Developing a new system that collects the disputes of each family in front of one court.
- Develop new procedures to reduce the divorce phenomenon.
- Preserving the financial estate of the husband and his share of the common wealth that was created during the marriage.
- Redrafting the marriage and divorce documents to ensure that they include what the two partners agreed upon in cases of marriage and divorce.
- Divorce documentation like in the case of marriage documentation.
- Putting no obligations on the wife except from the date of her knowledge of the divorce.
The report concluded with the following recommendations:
- Seminars need to be conducted to introduce the new personal status law and its effects on the stability of the Egyptian family.
- The draft law needs to be quickly finalized and put forward society’ debate in order for all elements and groups express their opinions on the articles of the law.
- It is necessary to take into account that everyone has access to the law and knowledge of its articles, because it is not an ordinary law, but rather a law that the people will deal with in marriage and divorce and the long journey between the two spouses.
- Media outlets should allocate episodes to discuss the new law because it affects the Egyptian family, as it is the society base that must be preserved.
- The importance of spreading awareness to introduce the law and the required amendments through talk shows and simplified news materials that are broadcasted in talk shows on channels and newspapers, that takes into consideration people in villages and hamlets and responds transparently to all questions.
- The new law should consider rights of all different groups, achieving a balance between them in terms of rights.
On the one hand, the General Coordinator of the ECHRD, Saeed Abdel Hafez confirmed that the current Personal Status Law has been in force for several years. It has become unable to keep pace with modern life development in the Egyptian family and society. It must be completely changed, bypassing the logic of improvements, in order to achieve equality in rights and duties. It aims mainly at preserving the cohesion of the Egyptian family from loss, as it is the society base that must be preserved and supported.