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Egyptian Parliament Significantly Strengthens Outdated FGM Laws

Offenders could now be placed in a cell for up to 15 years, along with substantial penalties.

The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt is a punishable crime that was once lodged under a non-strenuous penalty. The Health Ministry has brought to light updated penalties, modifying the law with the possibility of imprisonment for up to 15 years.

Under the old law, offenders would face jail for a short two months, or two years in the case of death. The updated laws state that offenders carrying out FGM would face imprisonment for five to seven years. In the case of death, the sentence is to be extended to 15 years. Additionally, those who encourage the practice or force females to go under the knife will be considered an accessory, and will face jail time for one to three years.

The practice is mainly carried out in the rural areas of Egypt with no formal medical intelligence informing the it. However, it has been noted in Egyptian Parliament that select doctors see a beneficial outcome from the practice provided it is done in hygienic conditions and in the presence of a professional.

The World Health Organisation has FGM classified as an intrusion to human rights.

Officials from the Health Ministry plan to monitor clinics and hospitals in order to administrate the new laws. 

Photo courtesy of Elsoar.