By Menna Mourad
Fouadawatch, an Egyptian women’s rights group, released a statement Monday calling for the drafting of a new constitution instead of “patching” the one passed on 25 December 2012.
Fathi Farid, the group’s spokesman, said that civil society “has exerted great effort in the past two years in reaching the public and presenting their findings to the previous constitutional committees.” He added that drafting the new constitution based on these findings would be a better alternative than “forming a new constitutional committee, amending the [now non-functional] constitution, forming a people’s assembly, amending the [new] constitution or drafting a new one all over again.”
Farid criticised the now-suspended constitution, saying that as it “passed with only 60% [approval, it] doesn’t signify a national consensus.”
Sixteen women’s groups meanwhile formed The Alliance of Women’s Organisations and signed a document comprised of 14 articles to be included in the new constitution. The articles tackle the foundations of the state, freedoms, rights and constitutional guarantees.
The National Coalition for Media Freedom, comprised of 20 civic organisations, also presented a memorandum outlining its ideas concerning the constitutional articles and stressed the importance of adding two articles excluded by the previous committees.
These include the right of journalists to obtain information from its original source and pursue their work freely and safely, and the prohibition of making libel charges without direct proof except in the case of hate speech.