New Milestone: Enforcement of the Female Genital Mutilation Penal Code
On the occasion of the National Anti-FGM Day on June 14th, the National Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Abandonment Programme honored the memory of two girls who lost their lives due to a harmful practice; Bodour Shaker and Soheir El Batea from Minya and Daqahalia governorates in 2007 and 2013 respectively. After 7 years of intensive lobbying and joint efforts, progress has been achieved through the first FGM court case, which led to Soheir’s father and the concerned doctor facing a trial on charges of violating the 2008 law of criminalizing FGM; an action thought to be a step forward towards eradicating such practice.
The National FGM Abandonment Programme― a joint programme under the umbrella of the National Population Council (NPC) as the national implementing partner, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), financed by the European Union, and the Governments of Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany and DFID/ UK government.
The programme coordinated with the General Attorney’s Office to re-open Soheir’s case by presenting a comprehensive report on the detriments of the first Forensic Medicine Report, and has also helped in breaking the society’s silence by advocating the abandonment of FGM. This month the public opinion awaits the second court hearing (19 June 2014) of Soheir’s doctor and father’s trial for perpetrating the FGM Criminalization Law.
Data from the Demographic and Health Survey suggest that some improvements occurred over the last two decades; in 2008 among women aged 15-17, the FGM/C prevalence was 74% compared with a prevalence of 95% among women aged 30-34. However, 72% of the practice is conducted by medical doctors, which continues to be a main concern.
By succeeding in developing an operational plan led by NPC and supported by UN agencies, civil society organizations and local authorities that will operate for the upcoming five years, partners are working to accelerate national efforts to reduce prevalence rates for girls aged 15-19 years by 20%.