Egypt bans female circumcision after death of 12-year-old girl
- Egypt bans female circumcision after death of
Ian Black, Middle East editor
Saturday June 30, 2007
Egypt has banned all female circumcision after the
death this week of a 12-year-old girl undergoing the
widely practised procedure.
Budour Ahmad Shaker died from an overdose of
anaesthetic at a private clinic in Minya province in
upper Egypt during the $9 (£4.50) operation. Her
parents are threatening to sue the doctor involved
after he reportedly tried to bribe them to withdraw
Female circumcision, which involves the removal of the
clitoris, and is also called female genital
mutilation, was made illegal in Egypt in 1997. But the
painful and sometimes deadly practice was allowed in
exceptional cases, and is common in the south despite
educational efforts by human rights organisations.
President Hosni Mubarak's wife, Suzanne, has been an
active campaigner on the issue.
The ban was imposed on Thursday on every member of the
medical profession, in public or private
establishments, from carrying out a clitorodectomy.
New legislation will be needed to enforce it.
In 2005, research by Unicef found that 96% of Egyptian
women aged 15 to 49 who had ever been married reported
they had been circumcised. The Egyptian government
says a more recent study found 50.3% of girls aged 10
to 18 had been circumcised.
Muslims and Christians practise circumcision in Egypt
and Sudan but it has no basis in either religion. The
operation is usually performed by doctors in private
clinics or, especially in rural areas, by barbers or