New York Times Examines Muslim Brotherhood’s Objections To CSW Declaration; U.N. Members Continue To Push For Compromise

“Now, with a leader of the [Muslim] Brotherhood’s political arm in Egypt’s presidential palace and its members dominating Parliament, some deeply patriarchal views the organization has long taught its members are spilling into public view,” the New York Times reports, noting astatement released this week by the Brotherhood objecting to “a proposed United Nations declaration to condemn violence against women.” Though “[t]he statement appeared in many ways to reflect the Brotherhood’s longstanding doctrine,” the newspaper notes that “[i]n an interview on Thursday, Pakinam El-Sharkawy, President [Mohamed] Morsi’s political adviser and Egypt’s representative last week at the United Nations [Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)], sought to distance the Morsi administration from the Brotherhood’s statement.” According to the newspaper, “The Egyptian government, she said, ‘is working with all its powers and policies to stop all forms of violence against women'” (Kirkpatrick/El-Sheikh, 3/14).

The CSW “is racing to negotiate a consensus” declaration by March 15, Reuters reports. “Egypt has proposed an amendment, diplomats say, that would allow countries to avoid implementing the declaration if it clashed with national laws, religious or cultural values,” the news agency writes, adding, “But some diplomats say this would undermine the entire declaration.” According to Reuters, “Egypt has joined Iran, Russia and the Vatican … in threatening to derail the women’s rights declaration by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights.” On Thursday, “[a] coalition of Arab human rights groups — from Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Tunisia — called on countries at the Commission on the Status of Women … to stop using religion, culture, and tradition to justify abuse of women,” the news agency writes (Nichols, 3/14).