The United Nations' Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Population Fund (UNFPA) have urged Egypt to halt female genital mutilation (FGM) procedures after a recent operation led to the death of a 13-year-old girl.
Soheir al-Batea died Thursday evening while being operated on at a private clinic in the Delta village of Daqahliya. Forensic doctors reported her death was caused by an overdose of anaesthetic drugs.
Egypt made FGM illegal in 2008, however the phenomenon has continued unabated in some poorer communities, which see it as a sanitary, physically-beneficial practice.
The joint statement by UNICEF and UNFPA labelled the incident as a “sad illustration of the terrible consequences that female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) has on the girl child.”
"On multiple occasions it has been clearly demonstrated that there are no medical or religious justifications for such a practice," it added. "This violation of children and women’s rights should be stopped once and for all.”
Both organisations announced their intention to fully investigate al-Batea's death and would continue efforts with the Egyptian government to end the practice.
Egypt’s National Council for Women meanwhile described FMG as a “criminal” act, calling for all those involved in Batea’s death to be held to account.