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Egyptian rights a concern for U.N. group

Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The United Nations is particularly concerned about the rights of women as outlined in a draft constitution under review in Egypt, an expert said.

Clashes were reported between demonstrators and riot police Friday in Egypt, news agency al-Ahram reports. Citizens there are frustrated over a draft constitution that some say marginalizes some members of society.

Kamala Chandrakirana, head of a U.N. group examining women's rights issues, said too few women were present in the assembly tasked with drafting the constitution.

"Despite offering unprecedented opportunities for progress, political transitions can result in regression and bring new forms of discrimination," Chandrakirana said in a statement.

The constitution, if passed, would be the first for a democratic Egypt.

The working group said it took note of equal rights clauses in the draft measure but said there are few guarantees elsewhere in the document.

Voting started this week on a constitutional referendum for Egyptian expatriates. National voting starts Saturday. Some political parties and movements have called for a "no" vote, while others said they would boycott the referendum.

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