Women in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region, including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, are significantly affected by considerable inequalities. Discriminatory legal frameworks and neutral laws enforced with underlying biases and stereotypes continue to hold women in the region back from fully participating in society. Crucially, this is also the case in political and other leadership and decision-making positions. Enhancing the contributions of women judges is particularly important as gender justice remains elusive in many aspects.
The most populous Arab nation and Africa's third largest economy, Egypt has been blighted by political turmoil in recent years. After the 2011 revolution which culminated in the overthrow of President Mubarak, the country has experienced political instability, violence, and heightened tensions which remain unresolved. Poor economic performance, mounting unemployment rates and a dramatic drop in foreign investments and tourism – a key source of foreign currency – are jeopardizing Egypt's economic and social development.
Investment climate to improve through creation of transparent and predictable legal environment
IDLO and partners hosted the Second Regional Consultation on Law Enforcement and the HIV Response in Beirut this week. The consultation was attended by representatives from law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations from seven countries in the region: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Sudan.
In 2015, Ahmed* was dismissed from his job as a plumber in a Giza club when his employer discovered he was infected with HIV. In February 2016, in a landmark decision for Egypt and the Arab region, an Egyptian court ruled that HIV infection was not grounds for dismissal under the Labor Code (No.12 of 2003).
"The issue of justice for children is critical in this volatile region," IDLO's Dr. Faustina Pereira told participants to a Middle East and North Africa-themed gathering hosted by the World Bank.
Cairo, Egypt - IDLO hosted the Third Regional Consultation on HIV-related Legal Services and Rights, which brought together lawyers and community activists from five countries in the Middle East & North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Tolerance of minorities (religious, sexual or otherwise) remains low in Egypt and other Middle Eastern and North African countries. People living with HIV are among the groups facing most discrimination. The virus is associated with stigmatized behaviors, such as sex between men and drug use. Many people with HIV are thus forced into the shadows, denied treatment, at risk of abuse and imprisonment. IDLO has been working with UNAIDS and local partners to help hundreds of people living with, and affected by, HIV in Egypt to access health and legal services.