The Egyptian government has taken two steps to promote the rights of children, although abuses against children in Egypt are still plentiful and further efforts need to be made to address them, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement Wednesday.
The organization praised Egypt's withdrawal of a reservation filed earlier in 1999 on an article in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child that sets the minimum legal age for marriage at 18, as well as an amendment to the Child Law lowering the age when children can be raised by foster parents from 2 years to 3 months.
"The Egyptian government still needs to do much more to protect children from serious abuse," said children’s rights director Zama Coursen-Neff.
The statement referred to child abuse by authorities in Egypt, including arbitrary detention, unfair trials, physical abuse and military tribunals.
The organization also accused Egyptian authorities of not adequately investigating female genital mutilation incidents and not prosecuting those who perform the dangerous procedure.
The HRW warned that child marriage is endemic in rural areas, where families accept unregistered marriage contracts until the girl reaches 18.
"The government’s two recent steps to improve protection for children should now be followed by a sustained and serious campaign to improve the rights of all children in Egypt," Coursen-Neff said.