The Directorate of Social Affairs in Giza, Egypt has agreed to establish the Egyptian Association for the Defense of the Rights of Men and Children, the first association of its kind in the country to defend men’s rights in family law, reported Arab News.
According to Ahmed Matar Rizk, lawyer and chairman of the association’s board of directors who spoke to Al-Sharqiya, the association’s goal is to preserve the entity of the Egyptian family while resisting the steady rise in divorce cases.
He also stated that the association intends to protect male legal rights, while resisting the current legal provisions on imprisonment, abuse and child custody where a wife initiates a divorce.
Historically, Egyptian family law has favoured men’s social and economic status. However, during the 2000s, a series of amendments to the law recognized women’s right to initiate divorce and retain custody of their children.
As per a detailed report by Al-Monitor, Hussein Sobhy, a 35-year-old Egyptian lawyer, said that since he and his wife agreed to divorce, his visitation rights only allow him to spend three hours a week with his 5-year-old daughter.
Even the three hours are not guaranteed, he said, adding that out of nine visits, his wife only brought his daughter five times. He said his ex-wife pulled their daughter out of the school where he teaches so he wouldn’t be able to see her.
Sobhy is one of hundreds of divorced fathers caught in custody battles, prompting him to join Egypt’s first-ever association defending men’s rights. The association was officially registered by the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity on June 9 under the name The Egyptian Association for Defending the Rights of Men and Children in the Egyptian Family Law.
The move comes after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met the minister of justice on June 4 and directed the formation of the committee to draft a law “that takes into account the multiple interests of all parties concerned with its provisions and in a balanced manner.”
Sherif El Haddad, founding member of the association, criticised the current personal status law, arguing that it is biased toward women at the expense of children.
Haddad told Al-Monitor,
The association calls for a number of demands, including amending the law to give the noncustodial parent — usually the father — hosting right for their children instead of the currently limited visitation right, which is only three hours a week.
Three hours a week are not enough to form a bond between a child and the noncustodial parent. What could the father say or do with his child in three hours.
Haddad said, adding that the current law does not allow men to practice their role as fathers after divorce. He added,
An unfair law is often used as a tool for personal revenge. Mothers sometimes make it difficult for fathers to see their children frequently. We want a law that respects both the mother and the father and takes into consideration the psychological wellbeing of children. Children should not be harmed by the separation of their parents.
He noted that the association also calls for reducing the age of custody to 7 for a boy and 9 for a girl, as was the case before 2005 when the law changed to raise the age to 15.
Current Personal Laws
The current personal status law gives divorced mothers the right to custody until the child reaches 15 years of age, after which the child may choose between living with their mother or moving in with their father, provided that there is a female caretaker for the child.
If the mother remarries before this time, she loses custody of her children and custody transfers to the maternal grandmother. The current law allows the noncustodial parent to see his children for no less than three hours every week in a public place.
#Egypt Gets First Association To Defend Rights Of Men & Children To Preserve Entity Of Family
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