Launch of the key findings of the violence against women with disabilities survey

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

February 27, 2022

As prepared for delivery

Your Excellency Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women

General Khairat Mohamed Barakat, President of the the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS)

Dear UN colleagues, Diplomatic community and partners

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • It is a pleasure to join you today for the presentation of the findings of a pioneering study on Violence against Women with Disabilities.
  • I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to UNDP’s partners: the National Council for Women, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, UN Women, and UNFPA.
  • The launch of the study fits within the ongoing government efforts championed by Her Excellency Dr. Maya Morsy to safeguard the rights of all Egyptian women and leave no one behind. 
  • Globally, 20% of women have some form of disability. Women and girls with disabilities face multiple barriers, stigma and discrimination.
  • According to the latest UN statistics, women with disabilities are three times more likely than men with disabilities to be illiterate and to have unmet healthcare needs. 
  • They are twice less likely than men to be employed or to know how to use the Internet. Women with disabilities are also much more likely to face hunger.
  • And sadly, it goes without saying,­ they are at far greater of risk of violence.
  • The impact of stigma and discrimination on persons with disabilities – especially women – has been recognized in some countries. However, we still lack good data to understand the full impact and guide action. 
  • This is why the study we are presenting here– the first of its kind in Egypt and one of very few in the world – is so important. The report findings we hear today will help us do more and act more effectively to protect the most vulnerable in society and ensure we leave no one behind.
  • The study is expected to act as a reference point for policymakers and legislators to better cater for the needs of women and girls with disabilities. The study’s findings will inform policies to provide both immediate and long-term remedies that will secure the rights of women and girls with disabilities as Egyptian citizens.
  • I would like to underline the ongoing efforts by the Government to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities and to raise awareness of these rights. 
  • These efforts in recent years include His Excellency the President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s declaration of 2018 as the Year of People with Disabilities, and the enactment of Law No. 10 of 2018 on the Rights of People with Disabilities. 
  • This law guarantees a wide range of legal rights and protection for persons with disabilities, including the right to non-discrimination in employment and healthcare and the rights of access to rehabilitation and training and education at all levels. The law also includes provisions for the rights of persons with disabilities to a safe environment and legal protection.
  • I would also like to commend the Government on the important steps it has taken towards combatting all forms of violence against women. In June 2021, for example, the Egyptian Parliament approved a legislative amendment to toughen penalties for sexual harassment and related crimes, upgrading these crimes to felony offences. 
  • I would also like to highlight the vital role played by the National Council for Women and Her Excellency Dr. Maya Morsy and Egypt's National Committee on the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation in securing legal amendments to toughen the penalty for Female Genital Mutilation. In March 2021, the prison sentence for this crime was raised from a previous maximum of seven years to up to 20 years imprisonment.
  • Finally, I would like to stress that UNDP is firmly committed to eliminating and preventing violence against women and girls. This commitment is especially important in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond towards recovery and rebuilding.
  • In Egypt, we will fulfill this commitment through concrete measures and advocacy aimed at developing and implementing solutions and innovations and supporting government efforts to tackle violence against women, especially against women and girls with disabilities.
  • With reliable data on violence against women with disabilities, the study provides us with a much more detailed picture and greater understanding of the issue.
  • To achieve the ultimate goal of eliminating the risk of violence for women and girl with disabilities, building on the data gathered, we need to empower these women to gain economic independence. That’s why UNDP supports women’s social economic empowerment worldwide.
  • We also need to change attitudes and behaviours through community-based sessions, advocacy campaigns, and education on gender issues for men and boys.
  • All of us have a responsibility to break the silence and stand up together for women and girls. Because ending violence against women and girls is everyone’s business.
  • UNDP looks forward to partnering with you to implement this concretely.
  • Thank you.