Egypt’s parliament – the House of Representatives – amended a law toughening penalties
on female genital mutilation (FGM) crimes on Sunday, in a bid to confront and eliminate the phenomenon.
Under the amendment, non-medical individuals involved in performing genital mutilation will face up to seven years in prison if the practice leads to a permanent disability, and up to ten years in prison if it leads to death.
Medical professionals -- doctors and nurses -- who perform genital mutilation can face between ten and 15 years in prison, according to the amendment.
Medical professionals can face a minimum of ten years in prison if the practice leads to a permanent disability, and the penalty will be toughened to be between 15 to 20 years in prison if it leads to death.
Medical professionals convicted of performing genital mutilation will be also stripped of practising their job for up to five years, and have their clinics closed for the same period of time.
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.
The government has been actively combating the widespread practice of female genital mutilation, which scars millions of girls for life, through intensive awareness campaigns and harsher penalties.
According to data released by Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), the number of girls and mothers reporting actual or potential incidents of FGM reached 1,618 between June 2019 and December 2020.