Monday, August 29, 2016

Egypt gets tougher on female genital mutilation

Egypt gets tougher on female genital mutilation

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The Egyptian government on August 28 approved a new draft bill against female genital mutilation (FGM), which has been banned since 2007. Under the proposed rules, anyone involved in female circumcision could face up to seven years in prison instead of the current penalty of a maximum three years of imprisonment.

At a press conference, Egypt’s Health Minister Ahmad Emad said: “The penalty can reach 15 years in prison if the [FGM] operation results in a permanent disability or death”.

As reported by Gulf News online, the new draft law explicitly states that parents subjecting their girls to the procedure face a jail term raging from one to three years.

“The Cabinet agreed on this amendment and sent it today [August 28] to the House of Representatives [parliament] for endorsement,” said Emad. “The amended law can end the crimes of female circumcision which presently reaches around 91% in Egypt.”

Three months ago, a 17-year-ol girl died of illegal female circumcision surgery she underwent in a private hospital in the coastal city of Suez, marking Egypt’s first reported death from FGM since 2013.

As reported by Ahram Online, there is a widespread belief in Egypt that women who do not undergo FGM are unable to control their sexual urges.

In January 2015, a doctor was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntarily killing a teenage girl by performing the FGM procedure, while the girl’s father was given a three-month suspended sentence. The case was the country’s first instance of FGM prosecution.

According to the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey, 92% of girls and women in Egypt are forced to undergo FGM. More than 75% of cases are of girls aged from nine to 12 while 14% are aged 7 or younger.