The United Nations (UN) has lauded the unprecedented moves by Egypt’s Cabinet of Ministers, which have been endorsed by the country’s Parliament, to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
The newly adopted measures are a result of strategic and significant advocacy and coordination, driven by the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM and supported by Egypt’s highest political leadership. The committee is headed by the National Council for Women (NCM) and the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM).
It is a historic moment as Egypt continues to strengthen its legislation to prevent FGM, ensuring this includes legal clauses which will have serious implications on those who perform or promote FGM.
The enforcement of the new amendments will address the medical practice of FGM, as doctors and other medical professionals involved in FGM are to be banned from practicing their profession for up to five years.
FGM is prevalent in Egypt with regional disparities, occurring particularly in rural areas, which puts many women and girls at risk. The UN said that it is confident the new amendments will lead to eradicating this severely harmful practice.
“The UN family in Egypt is proud of its partnership with the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM in Egypt in their fight to end FGM,” the organisation’s country operations said.
Accelerating steps to eradicate FGM requires the continuation of collective and coordinated work in strengthening national systems to respond to cases of girls at risk and survivors. At the same time, it ensures the engagement and voice of all actors: girls and boys, adolescents, women, men, teachers, parents, community and religious leaders, service providers and advocates.
This aims to bring about social transformation, and to reinforce the implementation of legislation against the practice.
Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt said, “It is a proud moment to see, under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the growing number of leaders, parliamentarians, and community supporters who fought to ensure the needed legislative measures to prevent and respond to FGM became a reality.”
She added that the UN is looking forward to partnering with the country in ending FGM and advancing women’s and girls’ rights in many socio-economic fronts.