Saturday, June 29, 2013

Egypt: Girl dies during FGM operation

Egyptian girl dies during female circumcision ritual outside Cairo

A 13-year-old is latest victim of a procedure that has been outlawed in the country since 2008. But some claim it is still widely practiced.

A 13-year-old Egyptian girl has died undergoing circumcision at a village near Cairo, Egyptian media reported on the weekend.

"We left our daughter with the doctor and the nurse. Fifteen minutes later, the nurse took my daughter out of the operation room to a nearby room, along with three other girls whom the doctor was circumcising," said Mohammed Ibrahim, a farmer, according to reports in Al Arabiya Egyptian daily.

"I waited half an hour, hoping that my daughter would wake up, but, unfortunately, unlike the rest of the girls, she did not," he said.

The police ordered an autopsy of the girl, whose name was Suhair al-Bata'a, and summoned the doctor to find the cause of the young girl's death.

A health inspector report said the cause of the death was due to "a sharp drop in blood pressure resulting from shock trauma," the family's lawyer, Abdel Salam, said.

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is an ancient custom in Egypt, and its history pre-dates both Islam and Christianity. The practice remains widespread, and Egyptian activists say it touches the lives of as much as 90 percent of female population.

Egypt criminalized all forms of FGM in 2008 and rights monitors say the number of girls undergoing the operation has dropped by about one third.

Egypt's National Council for Women condemned the recent death as a criminal act that reflects "extreme savagery," calling on the government to investigate the issue and punish the culprits.

UNICEF Egypt has also condemned the incident, saying female circumcision has neither medical nor religious justification.

*Photo of Suhair al-Bata'a, died at age 13, courtesy of family

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