Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, June 29, 2007

Public outcry brings hope of legislation against female circumcision

The death of a 12-year-old Egyptian girl during a female circumcision surgery in early June has prompted a public outcry and resulted in health and religious authorities announcing a ban on the practice this week, according to the International Herald Tribune.

On Thursday, the Egyptian Health Ministry issued a decree that stated it is “prohibited for any doctors, nurses, or any other person to carry out any cut of, flattening or modification of any natural part of the female reproductive system, either in government hospitals, non government or any other places.”

But the ban is not enforceable as law, which would require passage in the national legislature.

Despite a government order on against female circumcision issued in the 1950s, the practice has continued in Egypt, carried out mostly by barbers, midwives and amateurs. In 1995, a CNN television documentary depicting a barber circumcising a 10-year-old girl in a Cairo slum embarrassed Cairo internationally, but it failed to propel the parliament to pass a new child bill penalizing circumcision.

The United Nation’s children’s agency, UNICEF, said that 97 percent of married women in Egypt have undergone genital mutilation, according to the agency’s 2003 survey. The Egyptian government claims that a recent study found that only 50.3 percent of girls between the age of 10-18 years have been circumcised.

For the full article, click here .


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