Egypt: Government Fails to Enforce Criminal Laws against Female Genital Mutilation
Thursday, December 4, 2014 9:50 AM

In 2008, Egypt adopted Child Rights Law No. 126, which amended Egypt's Penal Code to prohibit injury to a girl through female genital mutilation (FGM). Convicted perpetrators may be sentenced to prison or fined. However, since 2008, Egypt has brought only one case of illegal FGM to trial. That case, involving a 13-year old girl who died from FGM, ended in the acquittal last month of the victim’s father and the FGM practitioner who performed the procedure.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), this case highlights the failure of Egyptian authorities to effectively implement the law against FGM. Middle East and North African women’s rights researcher, Rothna Begum stated in HRW’s report, “Egypt may have a law on the books, but the lack of meaningful prosecutions or any convictions for such a widespread problem sends a message that it is okay to carry out FGM.” HRW and Egyptian activists have called on the government to adequately investigate and prosecute FGM practitioners as well as develop a clear national strategy to end the practice.

On November 4, 2014, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) “issued a joint recommendation calling on states to eliminate harmful practices and formulate holistic strategies to end FGM.” Egypt ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1981.

Compiled from: Egypt: Trial Shows Need to Combat Female Genital MutilationHuman Rights Watch (November 27, 2014).