- Middle East/North Africa
A coalition of NGOs has launched a nationwide campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), after a botched operation resulted in the death of an Egyptian teenager on Sunday.
The new Kamla campaign, which means “complete” in Arabic, will figure in governorates across Egypt under the slogan: “Our daughters are [born] complete. Why do we want them to be incomplete?”
The coalition consists of 20 civil society groups working with volunteers to combat FGM and educate families across the country about the dangers of the practice and the negative impact it can have on girls’ health as well as family stability.
The campaign comes just days after 13-year-old Soheir Mohamed died during a procedure carried out by a doctor in a small village north-east of Cairo.
Egypt’s health minister decree 271 states: “It is prohibited for doctors and members of the nursing staff to make any cut or reform to any natural part of the female reproductive system (circumcision), whether in governmental or non-governmental hospitals and other places."
Article 242 of the penal code punishes those found to be conducting prohibited procedures with “imprisonment for not less than 3 months and not exceeding 2 years.” Defendants can also face hefty fines.
The campaign, which will start work in Cairo, Giza, Port Said, Qalyubiya, Menufiya, Ismailia and Upper Egypt, will host seminars on FGM and its relationship with Egyptian traditions and customs.
Attendees can also learn about the origins of the practice and contemporary medical opinion on it.
Kamla campaigners have called on decision-makers, including family and tribal leaders, Islamic sheikhs, priests and state agencies, to support them and help spread awareness.