Seven non-governmental organisations working in gender rights welcomed the legal amendments made to the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Law, but also expressed their scepticism of the enforcement mechanisms, in a joint statement on Sunday.
In late August, the parliament ratified the bill to intensify the penalties in the FGM Law. The new penalty stipulates five to seven years imprisonment—it was only two years previously.
However, NGOs agreed that the amendments still potentially allow FGM practitioners to flee from justice.
“Most of the amendments focused on stricter penalties, which is a mainstream governmental vision towards gender violence issues, and has proved to be inefficient,” the statement read.
The NGOs also expressed their concerns about Article 61 remaining in the penal code. The article states that no penalties shall be imposed on any person who was urged to commit the crime, referring to some families who claim they carry out FGM to protect their daughters.
The NGOs concluded the statement by calling for a code of ethics for doctors to be outlined by the Doctors Syndicate to monitor the practice, for intensive trainings to be conducted to activate the monitoring role of Health Ministry inspectors, in addition to empowering NGOs’ role in this matter and providing sexual education in school curriculums.
Egypt was among the countries that witnessed a fast decline in the prevalence of FGM rates since 1987 through 2015. It ranked sixth among countries which practice FGM worldwide, with 85% of girls and women aged between 15- to 49-years-old having been subjected to the practice.