EGYPT/AFRICA: Girl Dies After Genital Mutilation

Female genital cutting, or FCG, is a name for a number of ‘traditional operations’ of partial or total removal (or mutilation) of outer genitals in women. The reasons for the mutilation are mostly of religious and traditional in nature.

These days the practice is usual in African countries, especially in the strip from Senegal in western Africa to Somalia on the eastern side of the continent and from Egypt in the north to Tansania in the east. It is estimated that around 95 percent of women had to endure the surgery in the mentioned regions.

The surgery is typically performed on girls of ages between four and 12, but there are no rules, so circumcisions are done before marriage or during the first pregnancy. Until recently the rituals were performed by untrained people, mostly elder women, but nowadays the surgery is performed by professional staff, including doctors, nurses and the rest of the medical staff.

Amnesty International estimates that some 130 million women had undergone genital cutting and some two million women undergo the ritual every year.

The face of violence 

The physical and psychological abuse of a 12-year-old girl who died several days ago after such a surgery caused an uproar in Egypt where female genital cutting was prohibited ten years ago.

Magdi Abdelhadi, a BBC analyst for Arab issues, said the case had caused massive comlaints forwarded to the government and medical workers in Egypt. Human rights organisations are demanding that the circumcision practice be banned speedily and fully, the BBC reports.

The first lady of Egypt, Susanne Mubarak, harshly denounced female genital cutting, stating that the latest case was a vivid example of continued physical and psychological abuse of children, abuse which must cease.

Religious authorities in the country joined in calls for a ban, stressing that the practice had no basis, whether in the Qur’an or the Bible.


AUTHOR: Lajla Mlinarić and Tomislav Tustić

URL: Click here

DATE: 30/06/2007

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