June 15, 2007

Government roles assigned to Eastern Front officials

Progress is being made on the items negotiated in the October 2006 Peace Agreement between the Eastern Front and the central Sudanese Government.

In Mid-June, 10 parliamentarians of the governing party stepped down to allow room for eight Eastern Front representatives to sit in the parliament. These seats were made available after requests for seats from other parties were refused. It's not clear about the distribution of seats given to Beja representatives.

On May 21, protests took place in Port Sudan when results were made known of who would represent the Eastern Front in the Governement of National Unity parliament. Beja citizens were upset because they make up the majority of the population [80%] in the region, but only a few of nominated representatives were Beja heritage[18%]. They would not have a balanced share of power. Protestors presented a memo to government officials asking that it be passed on to the Presidency, urging that the nominations not be accepted.

Also, on May 16, the Eastern Front named officials to various government posts including the posts of assistant and advisor to Sudan's President Omar el-Bashir as well as a junior minister.


June 1, 2007

Egypt bans female circumcision after death of 12-year-old girl

A young girl died during an operation from an overdose of anesthetic at a private clinic in Minya province in upper Egypt. The government has now banned all medical professionals from perfroming a clitorodectomy, as of June 28, 2007.

Female circumcision was made illegal in Egypt in 1997. It was banned in 1996, but had some health exemptions. They have been eliminated. The practice has continued, especailly in the south despite educational efforts by human rights organizations. Suzanne Mubarak, the president's wife, has campained against clitorectomies.

The Egyptian government says about half of all teenage females have had their clitoris removed. 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.

Muslims and Christians practice circumcision in Egypt and Sudan but it has no basis in either religion. In rural areas, barbers or midwives usually perform the operation.