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Zero tolerance for FGM

Mariam Mossaad

08 Feb 2016 5:15 pm

“Achieving the new Global Goals through the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by 2030,” was the theme title of this year’s celebration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on 6 February.

“The Sustainable Development Goals contain a specific target calling for an end to FGM. When this practice is fully abandoned, positive effects will reverberate across societies as girls and women reclaim their health, human rights and vast potential,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.

 

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage entire communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. These efforts should emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice. They must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.

UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The programme currently focuses on 17 African countries and also supports regional and global initiatives.

 

The 17 goals – known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or simply the Global Goals – aim to transform the world over the next 15 years. They build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals, global objectives adopted in 2000 that have helped to improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

 

UNFPA is working with governments, partners and other UN agencies to directly tackle many of these goals – in particular Goal 3 on health, Goal 4 on education and Goal 5 on gender equality – and contributes in a variety of ways to achieving many of the rest.

 

In Egypt, Health Minister Ahmed Emad Eddine said that Egypt celebrates the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, which conforms to the 2015-2030 national population strategy and the national strategy against female genital mutilation (FGM).

He added that the ministry will launch an initiative called “Doctors against FGM” to crystallise the vision among doctors to reject the circumcision surgery, given that according to the 2014 survey, 82 per cent of the surgeries—of female circumcision—were carried out by medical teams of doctors and nurses.

Egypt’s 2015 health survey revealed that around 9 in 10 women aged between 15-49 experienced female genital cutting, which is in defiance of an official ban on the surgery.

In January 2015, a doctor was sentenced to two years for the death of 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea as a result of a circumcision surgery.

 

In 2007, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the State’s Mufti, issued a fatwa condemning female circumcision. Another statement was issued by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Research Academy of al-Azhar, showed that female circumcision has no basis in the Islamic law.

In June 2008, the Egyptian Parliament approved the criminalisation of female genital mutilation in the Penal Code by imprisonment for a period of minimum three months, and maximum two years, or pay a fine ranging between EGP1,000 and EGP5,000.

 

Watani International

8 February 2016

 

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