Egyptian authorities fail to protect refugee women, victims of sexual violence, says Human Rights Watch

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On Thursday, Human Rights Watch published a report saying that the Egyptian authorities had failed to protect refugee women victims of sexual violence and to investigate incidents of rape and sexual assault.

The human rights group documented 11 incidents of sexual violence between 2016 and 2022 in Egypt, involving seven refugee women from Sudan and Yemen. Six women said they had been raped, while four women said they had been sexually assaulted two or more times.

Three of the women said that the police refused to cooperate with them. Three others said they were so intimidated that they could not report what happened to the police. One woman said that a police officer sexually harassed her when she tried to report that she had been raped.

Three rapes led to pregnancy. Yet the police did not refer any women to the Forensic Medicine Authority or the health care services. “Not only do refugee women and girls in Egypt live in a vulnerable situation and are at risk of sexual violence, but the authorities also seem uninterested in protecting them, investigating incidents, or bringing rapists to justice,” said Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The rights group stressed that sexual violence against women and girls in Egypt is a pervasive problem, pointing to a 2017 Reuters poll that confirmed that Cairo, where more than a third of refugees in Egypt live, is the most dangerous city in the world for women.