With the aim of intensifying bilateral relations between the Republic of Croatia and Egypt, the Egyptian National Council for Women chairperson dr. Fatma Khafagy and her associates visited Croatian institutions for human rights protection and promotion. The visit took place from 16th to 18th June.
The institution of the Egyptian National Council for Women Ombudsman's Office is currently working as the European Commission’s special project but is soon supposed to become the central equality body regarding gender equality and religious minorities. Purpose of this study visit was to get acquainted with normative and organizational aspects of human rights system in Croatia.
Deputy Ombudswoman Jagoda Novak and the adviser for international cooperation informed the delegation about how the intuition of the Ombudsman was set up, about its mandate and work as well as the role of international (UN) and European (EU) actors in strengthening the institution, its status and cooperation with the parliament, civil society and the media.
Focus of interest of the Egyptian delegation was mostly on the experiences which Croatia acquired through the process of EU accession especially since Croatia had to meet high standards in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms to become an EU member state. The delegation was also interested in strategies used by the Office of the Ombudsman to gain credibility in the public and to encourage public bodies to follow its recommendations as well as in the scope of the intervention in the field of judiciary, giving legal advice to the citizens, case solving methods and procedures, cooperation with civil society organizations, how the institution if financed, the internal structure of the Office etc…
National Council for Women chairperson then informed the participants about recent events that took place in Egypt, the recent election of the new president of the state, new constitution that was brought earlier and parliamentary election which will take place soon. Public advocacy done by this institution together with different women's organizations resulted in introducing a provision in the constitution that foresees the establishment of a body responsible for fighting discrimination based on gender and religion. In line with this provision new act is being prepared that will regulate the purview, election and authorities of this new institution for promoting equality in Egypt.