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.


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