In 2003, Egypt embarked on a far-reaching legal reform process to strengthen the rights of the child. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood led these efforts, paving the way for passage of amendments to the 1996 Child Law in June 2008. The amendments strengthen protections for all of Egypt’s children and guarantee their rights in accordance with those enshrined in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
To enforce these provisions of the Child Law, the amendments mandate child protection committees at regional and district levels. The committees are an integral part of establishment of a new child protection system, including setting child protection policies, receiving complaints about child abuse, investigating charges of abuse, and intervening with appropriate social services.
Upon passage of the amendments, the council, with support from the USAID-funded Combating Violence Against Women and Children project
, convened five, two-day forums for members of the general committees. About 200 participants from each of Egypt’s 29 governorates attended these events. Each session featured local Egyptian experts, most of whom volunteered their time, speaking on a variety of topics, including juvenile justice, street children, and detailed information on the amendments to the Child Law in the areas of education, health, child labor, and at-risk and abused children.
Before the forums, the council, with support from the Combating Violence project, provided each governor with essential information on the text of the law, which specifies the members of the general committees, and helped the governors and their staffs, as needed, draft the text of the decrees that created the committees in each of Egypt’s 29 governorates.
After a establishment of the general committees, the project will continue to support the council’s efforts to launch the district-level child protection committees.