Launch of “Unit to combat sexual harassment phenomenon at Ain Shams University”
Cairo, 11 April 2016- Today the launch of the first unit to combat sexual harassment phenomenon at Ain Shams University, this launch will be honorably attended by Dr.Abdel Wahab Ezaat, Vice President Ain Shams University, Ms.Charlotta Spar; Ambassador of Sweden in Cairo, Mr. Jon Hedenström; First Secretary and Regional Programme Manager Democracy & Human Rights (Sida), Mr. Anders Frankenberg; Director of The MENA Unit SIDA, Ms. Ewa Werner Dahlin; Director of the Department for Asia and MENA (Assistant Director General), SIDA, Mr. Ignacio Artaza; UNDP Country Director, Dr. Maya Morsy; President of the National Council for Women, Dr. Magdy Khaled; Assistant Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ms. Germaine Haddad; Programme Officer and gender focal point at UNFPA, Nehad Abolkomsan; chair of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights. This launch will be followed by the opening of the Sexual Harassment Unit and youth activities organized by students “Mesh 3ady” (Not Normal) promoting the Sexual Harassment Unit.
Hence, The establishment of this unit is integrated within the framework of the implementation of the cooperation protocol which was signed in 2015 between Ain Shams University and The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights with the support of the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (SIDA) to implement new policies and procedures to combat sexual harassment at Ain Shams University and to start the implementation of the guide of " policies and procedures to address the sexual harassment at the university" which was prepared by the Egyptian Center for women's rights in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund.
The last few years have witnessed a massive increase of the phenomenon of sexual harassment especially among youth, so that the implementation of these policies became a necessity to combat sexual harassment in educational institutions. Sexual harassment is a violation of women’s rights and dignity and is considered an obstacle to achieve gender equality either in getting opportunities or dealing with communities in universities, at both levels either the staff or students including males and females. Despite the legal provision that criminalizes sexual harassment, the current procedures are not sufficient to provide full protection for employees and students.
This unit is considered as a significant step in addressing institutionally the phenomenon of sexual harassment in the university community. The aim of this unit is to raise awareness among university staff, professors and students about their rights in case they experienced harassment in the university, make them aware of the mechanisms of reporting and dealing with the concerned parties and finally supporting the victims who experienced harassment. The unit will be headed by a trained multidisciplinary committee formed of 7 members, on top of them the University’s President, President of a committee formed of professors in relevant fields, a responsible hired by the government with legal background, women representative, male and female representatives for students who get hired by election and finally a responsible for receiving complaints. This unit will look into the received cases, and its role of the unit is to investigate, provide response also support (social, psychological, legal) to victims and make decisions abiding by the rules and regulations of the University.
The implementation of these policies is highly supported from the administration of Ain Shams University which encourages good behavior between managers and university professors to be a role model for the students and university employees. Also the implementation of this protocol enhances the role of educational institutions and how they abide by the national strategy to combat violence against women adopted by the National Council for Women. This step also reflects the clear vision of the university management and their understanding of discrimination and harassment issues and how it affects women empowerment and how to deal with such issues. The university will also arrange periodic workshops/trainings for the staff and students to them provide with information about sexual harassment and the reporting mechanisms in case of the occurrence of such crime in the university campus.
For more information, please contact:
Nada Salah, Digital Media Coordinator at the Communications department, UNFPA