ECWR was shocked when it received the decision of the State Council, Egypt’s Administrative Court, to defer the appointment of female judges, although consensus of the Special Council was reached, allowing women to be appointed to judicial positions. The State Council attributed reason for the delay in approving the appointment of female judges to regulation problems, including a lack of safe and secure places for women to stay when presiding over a trial and a lack of nurseries for their children.
These justifications are unacceptable. It is a violation of justice and equal rights under the pretext of regulating these rights. It would be better if the State Council told applicants about the circumstances of the position they are applying for and the requirements of the job, then let female applicants choose for themselves to accept or refuse these circumstances.
The justification of the council is not logical with regards to women's effective participation in all aspects of life, in addition it prevents women’s participation in positions that demand more intellectual and physical effort than those positions within the State Council itself that offer luxurious offices to female judges and nurseries for their children. ECWR thinks that the discussion about female judge’s ability to work in the field should motivate the improvement of judges' status and the circumstances in which they work rather than being used as a pretext to discriminate among citizens on the basis of gender and violate the Constitution.
ECWR condemns the ban on women’s appointment as judges along with all sectors of Egyptian society, which has expressed through peaceful means its refusal of the State Council’s decision. There is no reason this ban applies the rules of justice, nor does any justification for discrimination among Egyptians on the basis of gender, race, color or geographical place.
Thus, ECWR reaffirms its respect of judicial independence and the significant role of the State Council in applying the rules of justice and protecting rights and freedoms. ECWR makes the following demands:
· There should be a swift decision on the claims of civil society and requests for women’s appointment in the State Council on the basis of the rules of law and justice.
· The speedy enactment of a law that eliminates discrimination and guarantees to all Egyptians that they will be treated fairly based on their citizenship and efficiency.
Nehad Aboul Komsan