A file photo of Egypt's Senate (photo: Khaled Mashaal)
The Senate – Egypt's consultative upper house – will resume plenary meetings on Sunday and Monday to discuss three legislative amendments, the most important of which is one on fighting female genital mutilation (FGM) crimes.
On Sunday, the 300-member Senate will meet to discuss a report prepared by the Health and Population Committee on fighting the phenomenon of female genital circumcision.
According to the report, "the practice of female genital mutilation is still one of the worst crimes in Egypt so, laws should be amended to impose harsher penalties on this crime."
As a result, the report added, Article 242 of the Penal Code will be amended to increase the minimum and maximum prison sentences imposed on FGM crimes.
"Non-medical individuals involved in performing genital mutilation would face up to seven years in prison if the practice led to a permanent disability, and up to ten years in prison if the practice led to death," said the amendment.
The amendment also said that medical professionals (i.e. doctors and nurses) who perform genital mutilation can face between ten and 15 years in prison.
"If the procedure led to a permanent disability, medical professionals involved can face a minimum of ten years in prison, and if the procedure led to death, the penalty will be toughened to be between 15 to 20 years in prison," the amendment added.
Moreover, the amendment also added that medical professionals convicted of performing genital mutilation will be stripped of practising their job for up to five years, and have their clinics closed for the same period of time.
According to the same amendment, any other individual found promoting, encouraging, or supporting FGM in any of the ways prescribed by Article 171 of the Penal Code will be jailed, even if the procedure took place without leaving any harm.
On Sunday, the Senate is also scheduled to discuss a report prepared by the Education and Scientific Research Committee on a draft law aimed to set up the Egyptian Authority for Guaranteeing Quality and Accreditation in the field of Education as well as, Technical and Professional Training.
The report said that the law comes in line with Article 20 of the constitution, which indicates that the state shall support technical education and professional training in line with the most up-to-date quality standards and the needs of the job market.
Also, according to the report, improving the quality of technical education and professional training is one of the priorities of the country's 2030 strategy on sustainable development. "This strategy aims to reinforce [the] competitiveness of the Egyptian labour market on regional and international markets, and in this context, it is important to set up the Egyptian Authority for Guaranteeing Quality and Accreditation in the field of Education [as well as]Technical and Professional Training," said the report.
The Senate is also expected to discuss a third report on the law (law 16/1973) related to handling the crop of cotton in the local market. The report, prepared by the Industry and Trade Committee, said that it aims to help the general authority on cotton arbitration and tests impose control on cotton gins to make sure that the cotton produced is of the required and highest standard quality.
"The law will also aim at imposing control on unlicensed and substandard cottons supplied to cotton gins," said the report, indicating that a penalty between EGP 100,000 and one million in addition to, a minimum six months in jail will be imposed on those involved in supplying sub-standard cotton to gins."