ECWR Welcomes Intensifying FGM Penalty

(Cairo, August 29, 2016) ECWR welcomes Egypt’s cabinet approval on the draft of amending law prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) through intensifying penalty on whoever does this act to reach imprisonment between five- seven years. This comes in comparison to the current law with the penalty of imprisonment between 3 months to 3 years. The draft law proposed classifies FGM as a felony instead of a misdemeanor that can reach 15 years in case the operation led to a permanent disability or death. Also, whoever escorts a girl to be subject for FGM will receive between one year to 3 years of imprisonment.

Egypt’s Penal Law defines the permanent disability in its article 240 as:

“Whoever causes a wound or a beating to another, which results in cutting or separating a member that loses it utility, blinding him, losing one of his eyes, or causing him a permanent irremediable incapacity, shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of three to five years. But, if the beating or the wound thus caused was preceded with malice, lying in wait, and ambush, the punishment shall sentencing to hard labor for a period of three to ten years.The ceiling of penalties shall be doubled if the crime is committed in execution of terrorist purpose.

The penalty shall be hard labor for a period not less than five years if the act explained in the above clause was done by a doctor with the intention of organs trafficking or to move one part of a human being to another and the penalty shall be eternal hard labor if the act causes the death for the victim”.

ECWR sees that this law will contribute in eliminating the prevalence of FGM that reached very high rates. According to Egypt Demographic and Health Survey issued in May 2015, Female circumcision between the reproductive age 15-49 years has reached 92% while it decreased among young girls between 15 – 17 reaching 61%. The survey has also showed that more than 75% of these operations are done to girls between 9 and 12 years and 14% are done to girls less than 7 years old. They survey also mentioned that 31% of women between 15 to 49 years were undergo circumcision by practicing physician or nurse, 82 % of girls less than 19 years old underwent female circumcision by a practicing physician. This comes in spite of the decisions taken by Ministry of Health to prevent female circumcision and criminalize the act, which proves the medicalization of FGM. For this reason, there must be a strict law criminalizing female circumcision explicitly.

Nehad Aboul Komsan, ECWR’s chairwoman, believes that turning female circumcision from being a misdemeanor to felony will help to a great extent reduce the widespread of this phenomenon, as this will increase the period of imprisonment to hard labor. Aboul Komsan pointed out that the female circumcision is a serious crime against girls and we should work together for putting an end to it.

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