Egypt: Enforce FGM law in Egypt & prosecute those responsible for Soheir al-Batea’s death
|Soheir al-Batea. Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm
Equality Now has issued an Action calling on Egypt to enforce its FGM law and ensure justice for Soheir-al-Batea. On 6 June 2013, 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea died after a doctor performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her on her father’s orders in a clinic in the Daqahliya Governorate, north-east of Cairo. Reportedly, Dr. Raslan Fadl who performed the procedure was interrogated by prosecutors and released on bail pending investigation. Soheir’s death tragically highlights FGM as a violation of the human rights of girls and women with serious health risks regardless of performance inside or outside a medical establishment. In 2008 FGM was criminalized in the Egyptian penal code. Despite this ban, however, medicalization is on the rise in Egypt with an estimated 72% of procedures being performed by doctors in private clinics. Human rights organizations in Egypt are concerned at reports that the Ministry of Health is pushing for the police report on Soheir’s case to record the crime as “medical negligence” instead of FGM and manslaughter. They fear that without strong messages from the government, such as proper implementation of the law and swift punishment for the perpetrators, FGM may become more acceptable in post 2011 revolution Egypt, with women’s rights increasingly taking a back seat at all levels.
Please join us in calling on the government of Egypt to live up to its domestic and international obligations by:
- Effectively enforcing its 2008 FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that the doctor who performed the procedure and Soheir’s father are both prosecuted for FGM and manslaughter and punished to the full extent of the law
- Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
- Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice