CAIRO - 4 Febuary 2020: On the occasion of the international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation FGM, 6 February, the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM, co-chaired by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and the National Council for Women, held a virtual meeting today with the participation of members of the committee in addition to representatives of development partners.
The National Committee affirmed the determination thereof to confront this hideous crime of FGM, which negatively affects the present and future of girls, and constitutes a great danger to their lives.
Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women expressed her sincere thanks and appreciation on behalf of all members of the National Committee to Dr. Mustafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, for the approval of the cabinet on the draft law submitted by the National Committee, and Legal procedures have been taken to study it at the Ministry of Justice, which includes amending some provisions of the Penal Code issued by Law No. 58. of 1937, to determine a deterrent punishment for FGM crimes, confirming that this is the culmination of the relentless efforts made by the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM since its formation in May 2019, and a great victory for Egyptian women and girls, as it is a momentum in the agenda of criminalizing FGM in Egypt.
Dr. Morsy also appealed to Parliament to pass the bill in the near future, and to permanently eliminate the medicalization of FGM.
Dr. Morsy announced that the fruitful cooperation between all members of the National Committee since its establishment thereof has resulted (1534 activities) targeting 74,616,721 beneficiaries (women, girls, men and children) in villages and hamlets across the governorates in various fields, such as organizing medical and educational convoys and awareness media campaigns, receiving complaints, raising the efficiency of institutional building, and door-knocking campaigns under the slogan “Protect it from FGM” through the branches of the National Council for Women and the Childhood Protection Committees of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood in the governorates to educate women and families in centers, villages and hamlets of the dangers of this crime and the harm thereof to the future of girls and their chances to live naturally. The 16 days of activism to combat violence against women during November 25 to December 10 of the year 2020, was also devoted for awareness of this issue.
Dr. Maya Morsy also expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the doctor of Qalyoub General Hospital, who quickly reported the recent crime of FGM of a girl in Qalyubia upon her late arrival at the hospital, stressing that this doctor is an honorable model for honorable Egyptian doctors who appreciate and respect the value and message of the great medical profession , And indicated that the National Committee is fighting a hidden enemy, which is the culture of society that still encourages the commitments of this crime against the girls of Egypt, but this enemy will not deter the National Committee from carrying out its role in raising awareness of the harms of this crime.
Dr. Sahar Al-Sunbati, Secretary-General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, expressed her happiness at the efforts of the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM to achieve great achievements on the ground, especially in the battle of raising the awareness and eliminate misconceptions that would distort an entire generation psychologically and physically.
However much still remains to be done & for that we need to join hands and unify efforts.
Dr. Sahar Al-Sunbati, also expressed her thanks to the members of the committee for their efforts, saying that we need to unify all efforts to protect our daughters from all harmful practices against them.
Al-Sunbati refereed to the approval of the cabinet on the draft law submitted by the National Committee to increase the penalty for FGM, stressing that this step is very important and crowned with success, and it is added to the list of achievements of the National Committee that has made great efforts to eradicate this crime since its establishment thereof in May 2019 till now. Pointing out that the establishment of the committee is an integral part of the sustainable development goals -Egypt Vision 2030, the strategic framework and the National Plan for Childhood and Motherhood 2018-2030.
Al-Sunbati said that in celebration of the International Day of zero tolerance for FGM, we all renew our commitment to stand against this crime and announce our complete rejection of it, which is one of the harshest practices against girls, and a threat to their lives. We renew our determination to confront all those who participate in this crime.
Al-Sunbati also expressed her happiness on behalf of Egyptian doctors of the issuance of the statement “Zero Tolerance for medicalization of FGM” by the National Action Group for Doctors to eradicate the medicalization of FGM, stressing that there are no justifications to this crime and that this statement shall be considered an important step to eradicate the medicalization of FGM.
Al-Sunbati urges all citizens and families of the necessity of protecting our daughters from all harmful practices and distortions that harm them as a result of this crime, and also urged all citizens to report these crimes and everyone who promotes or performs this act, through NCCM lines: the Child helpline number 16000, WhatsApp at 01102121600, or social media pages.
Christian Berger, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation in Cairo, expressed his happiness at his invitation to participate in this meeting, not only on the occasion of the International Day for zero tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, but also to celebrate the partnership and cooperation existing between the members of the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM and their relentless and continuous effort to confront this crime in Egypt.
He pointed out that the European Union has been working for many years at the global level to confront this issue with governments and international partners through many programs. He added that the EU are working in Egypt with governmental and non-governmental agencies and with development partners to address FGM, as many programs have been launched and many activities have been implemented to eliminate FGM, which affects the lives of many women and girls, noting that the EU is renewing its commitment to continue to support the efforts of the Egyptian government in this area.
Ms. Leslie Reed, Director of USAID, expressed her happiness and gratitude for participating in this event, which comes within a very important framework of eliminating female genital mutilation. Ms. Leslie expressed appreciation to the role of Egypt and the efforts made by the National Council for Women and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood in working on this issue. And their continued effort despite the global pandemic of COVID-19.
Reed added that it is necessary to work to increase the punishment of those who commit this crime, which comes against the innocence and dignity of girls, and added that the USAID are fully prepared to provide all means of assistance to eliminate FGM, and that everyone must cooperate and work together to reach different communities and families so that we can change minds to stop this Crime committed against girls.
Dr. Georges Georgi, Officer in Charge of UNFPA Egypt, praised the great and distinguished efforts made by the Egyptian government and the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM during the last period to confront and address the issue and the committee's efforts in preparing a draft law to increase the punishment for Female Genital Mutilation, which the government recently approved and hopes it gets approved quickly by the Parliament. Dr. George appreciated the existing cooperation between all partners within the committee in implementing many activities, and stressed that the challenge faced is a cultural challenge in the first place, and that work must be done to change these cultural misconceptions.
In her speech, Ms. Christine Arab, Country Representative of UN Women in Egypt, congratulated the National Council for Women and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and all those cooperating and working for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, adding that the efforts made give more hope to address this phenomenon and protect girls, adding that eliminating FGM is not an easy job but it must be done. Ms. Arab emphasized on the significance of expanding and continuing the efforts to reach out to more communities & highlighting the negative medical implications of female genital mutilation crime on girls and their health.
Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, Country Representative of UNICEF Egypt also praised the effort made by the National Committee for the Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation and the work done within the framework of the plan put in place to curb this illegal practice.
Mrs. Randa Abul-Hassan, resident representative of UNDP Egypt, expressed her happiness for this determination and commitment to work on eliminating Female Genital Mutilation, praising all the efforts made by the National Committee for the Eradication of FGM, which culminated in the government's approval of a draft law to increase the punishment of this crime, which was presented by the committee, confirming that with the continuation and help of the National Committee, lots of girls will be protected from this crime & won’t be subjected to FGM, especially with the commitment of the Egyptian state at all levels and with the support of partners, civil society, religious men, the judiciary, the public prosecution, & the media.
The National Committee for the Eradication of Female genital mutilation was established in May 2019, and its establishment has been announced during Dr. Maya Morsy's meeting with the Prime Minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, on May 21, 2019, with the membership of representatives of all relevant ministries, competent judicial authorities, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and the three Egyptian churches and concerned civil society organizations, in addition to cooperation with development partners.