For the first time since its establishment in 2003, a woman has been appointed to head Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), and 10 women have been assigned as members out of a total 27.
Egypt’s House of Representatives has today, 4 October 2021, approved the reconstitution of the NCHR. The approval came during the House’s plenary session presided over by Speaker Hanafi al-Gebali. The reconstitution of the NCHR comes a few days after Egypt declared a new strategy for human rights.
Moushira Khattab, PhD, human and women rights activist, and former ambassador, politician and diplomat, was appointed President of the NCHR. Eleven women: rights activists, politicians, economists, and doctors were assigned to the board.
Dr Khattab, born 1946, was Egypt’s Minister of State for Family and Population from 2009 to 2011, Secretary-General of the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood from 1999 until 2010, and before that Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was an active member of Egypt’s diplomatic corps and served as Egypt’s ambassador to several countries. In 2016, Ms Khattab was nominated for the post of UNESCO Director General, but lost to the French Audrey Azoulay.
Dr Khattab is succeeding Muhmmad Fayek who has sat at the head of NCHR since 2013.
Maya Morsy, Head of the National Council for Women congratulated Dr Khattab for her appointement, pointing out that this is the first time for a woman to be appointed President of NCHR since its formation in 2003. Ms Morsy also made a point of thanking Mr Fayek for the time he spent as President of NCHR during which he has had several accomplishments which will go down in history, she said.
For extensive coverage on Ms Khattab:
The House on Monday also selected Ambassador Mahmoud Karem as vice president of the NCHR. Karem served as Egypt’s ambassador to the European Union and has been a member of the NCHR.
The 10 women assigned as NCHR members are:
Hoda Ragheb Awad, Professor of political sciences, and prolific writer in the field;
Nevine Abdel-Moniem Mossad, political science professor, researcher, writer, and civil society activist;
Noha Ali Bakr, political science professor, and consultant to a number of international organisations including the African Union and UNDP;
Nehad Abulkomsan, lawyer, feminist, writer, widow of prominent human rights activist Hafez Abu-Saeda, and head of the Egyptian Centre for Women Rights;
Rabha Fathy, lawyer and rights activist, head of the Egyptian Female Rights Activists Association;
Samira Luqa Danial, social activist, writer on development work in Egypt and head of the Dialogue Sector at the Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services;
Wafaa’ Benjamin Basta, gynaecologist and obstetrician; active in promoting women’s health issues and battling female genital mutilation (circumcision);
Ghada Mahmoud Hammam, who has extensive experience in democracy culture, good governance, economic development, education development, democratic education, gender equity and child protection in Egypt, Arab countries and North Africa;
Noha Talaat Abdelkawy, Director of Fundraising and Communication at New National Cancer Institute Foundation 500500, Cairo University. Degrees in clinical pharmacology and business administration, with 10-year experience in Egypt and Africa in development work, civil society, and empowerment of women. Wide experience in managing small and medium enterprises, and of charity and social responsibility work.
Dina Khalil, political scientist, young leader, International cooperation and development specialist, and gender specialist.
Established in 2003, the NCHR is composed of 27 members, including the president and vice president.
The NCHR, through independent work in the country, seeks to develop and implement a national strategy for human rights as well as to protect and promote human rights in accordance with the Constitution.
The NCHR’s vision is to “make human rights concerns a national priority.”
4 October 2021