On International Day Against FGM, Egypt remains a top offender

On International Day Against FGM, Egypt remains a top offender
As the world commemorates the fight against FGM, last week's death of a young girl by the procedure is fresh in Egyptian memory.
2 min read
06 February, 2020
Though FGM was outlawed in 2008, then criminalised in 2016, Egypt remains a top perpetrator.
As the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was internationally observed on Thursday, the world's biggest offenders - among them Egypt - were reminded of the dangerous procedure's widespread nature.

On the week prior to the annual anti-FGM campaign, a 12-year-old girl named Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud bled to death in southern Egypt after her family brought her to a private clinic for "plastic surgery" on her genitals.

The doctor performed the procedure without anaesthesia, a nurse's presence, or surgery qualifications. The girl's parents, uncle and aunt were arrested, as was the doctor.

Though the practice of cutting female genitalia was outlawed in 2008, then criminalised in 2016, Egypt remains a top perpetrator.

Read more: Why is Egypt performing so many female genital mutilations?

According to UNICEF data from 2015, approximately 87 percent of women and girls between 15 and 49 years have undergone FGM in Egypt. The country is considered to be a "high prevalence country" for the practice.

Classified as torture by the United Nations, the centuries-old practice is generally believed to preserve women's "purity".

FGM usually involves removing the labia, but can also implicate cutting the clitoris or sewing up the vaginal opening. Additionally, the aftermath of the procedure entails a number of severe health issues.

Though mainly practiced in Africa, FGM procedures are also carried out in Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen and Iraq.

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