7 February 2013

Africa: FGM - a Disgusting Torture Crime Against Humanity

press release

February 6th is the World Day of rejecting female genital mutilation, known as FGM, sponsored by UNICEF (one of UN organizations) to defend childhood rights and which seeks to eliminate this harmful and dangerous practice. Every 15 second girl is undergone this practice in different regions in the world.

Paradoxically, this day comes while Egypt is witnessing a recession in defending women's and childhood rights. This recession condition is represented in the lawsuit that was sued by political Islam lawyers to appeal upon the unconstitutionality of article no. 212 (repeated) of penal law and the health minister's decision no. 271 of 2007 concerning banning FGM and criminalizing it on the pretext of contradicting the Islamic rules (Shariaa') and traditions, the decision that was rejected by the constitutional court and supported the decision of banning FGM.

A study issued by Cairo Center for Development entitled "FGM: A Habit NOT Worship" showed that in the Egyptian countryside FGM ratio reaches 98% and it also spreads in the Egyptian cities. The ratio is varied among high and low classes. In addition, FGM ratio increases while education ratio decreases. Girls are undergone FGM since their birth till getting married. FGM, whether by physician or not, is a direct physical violation for women's body. FGM also may cause many complications starting from death as a result of bleeding or shock to wound infection as a result of using non disinfected tools, besides, it may cause chronic inflammation that may lead to sterility, genital mutilation and severe pain during intercourse.

It is worth mentioning that religion, medicine and law view that FGM is a disaster for girl and is not related to religion. Yet girl lives with psychological crisis and suffers from collapse in her marital life. There are many FGM victims in Egyptian society as it lacks enough awareness, the matter which makes habits control it without thinking.

Dr. Amna Nosir, Islamic Philosophy professor, assures that religion view has inset the habit which still there in Nile Basin countries and if it is a must it should be stated in the Holy Qur'an. Yet 80% of the Arab and Islamic world does not circumcise their girls. What is that we depend on "Om Attya" Hadith which is a weak one and does not relate to Sunna and does not mean that FGM is an order. This Hadith has been got through and mentally shaped the matter which helps in the spread of this habit.

Women's and Child International Charters and the Egyptian Law state the following:

FGM is a crime punished by the Egyptian law according to article 242 (repeated) in the Egyptian penal code which states: "who causes wound that punished according to 241 and 242 in penal code by circumcising a female is punished by imprisonment not less than three months and not exceed two years or by a fine not less than 1000 and not exceed 5000 L.E"

Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women by UN General Assembly:

Article 4

States should condemn violence against women and should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination. States should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating violence against women.

CEDAW

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures:

(a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women;

(b) To ensure that family education includes a proper understanding of maternity as a social function and the recognition of the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases.

Egyptian Child Law no. 126 of 2008:

Article 1:

The State shall ensure the protection of childhood and motherhood, the welfare of children, and provide suitable conditions for their appropriate upbringing in all respects, within the framework of freedom and human dignity.

Article 7:

Every child shall have the right to access health and social care services and to be treated for any illnesses. The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure that all children enjoy the highest level of healthcare. The State shall ensure providing the parents, the child, and all community sectors with the essential information related to the child's health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, the principles of health protection, environmental safety, and accidents prevention, and shall assist them in benefiting from such information. Furthermore, the State shall ensure the right of the child, in all settings, to a suitable, healthy, and clean environment and shall take all effective measures to eliminate harmful practices to his health.

Hence, Cairo Center for Development declaims all society's categories; government, citizens and civil society to undertake the responsibility of aware society against this disaster which may lead to another disasters if we do not unify.

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