European & International News

Egypt women’s NGO sue Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over pro-FGM statements

[Brussels, 10 May 2012] The EWL supports the legal challenge initiated by Egypt’s New Women Foundation against Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf’s statements in favour of female genital mutilation (FGM), an intolerable practice still widely practiced in Egypt and elsewhere, which causes young girls severe physical damage. Ms. Azza al-Garf had stated that FGM is an Islamic practice and that the anti-FGM laws in Egypt should be amended.

The EWL has joined forces with Amnesty International to call on the European Union to put an end to female genital mutilation. EWL Secretary General Cecile Greboval stated that “Ending all forms of violence against women, including FGM, should be a priority, especially in times of crisis. We know that the EU has the means to end violence against women and deliver a strategy to guarantee all women the right to live free from violence; so what are we waiting for?”. Read more here.

Egypt’s New Women Foundation states that they are suing Azza al-Garf for going against Egyptian laws that criminalise sexual harassment and FGM, practices that go against women’s human rights. "We completely refuse Garf’s statements and announce that she does not represent us.”

Around 86% of Egyptian women have undergone FGM according to Rights surveys in the country. This is taking place regardless of the fact that FGM is illegal; anyone who performs FGM is sentenced to prison. Many parents take their daughter to underground clinics risking severe damage and sometimes resulting in death.

In 2007, a 12 year old girl died as a consequence of circumcision which caused huge reactions from Egyptian civil society groups. Furthermore, in 2010 a 13 year old girl died as a result of a circumcision and the local doctor was arrested after a citizen called a hotline service set up to report on female genital mutilation. FGM is unacceptable and the EWL supports Egypt’s New Women Foundation in their fight against this illegal activity.

To read more about this court case please click here.

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