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PARLIAMENTARY CAMPAIGN "STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN":
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

    Legislation and other national provisions:
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France

Country-specific information on the current state of national legislation dealing directly or indirectly with the issue of female genital mutulation reproduces the contents of the official communications received to date from national parliaments. Other reliable information, contained in the documents published by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, is also taken into consideration. Whenever necessary, it is specified that the IPU has not received any official information directly.

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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
  • Current status: Female genital mutilation is reportedly practised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to information at the WHO's disposal, prevalence could be 5%. However, the IPU has no first-hand official information on this subject.
  • Legislation: the IPU has no information on the existence of specific legislation.
  • Operational structure: The IPU has no information on this subject.
DENMARK
  • Current status: Female genital mutilation reportedly affects the girls and women of certain immigrant populations, primarily Somali women. However, the IPU has no first-hand official statistics or other details on this subject.
  • Legislation: The IPU has no information on the existence of specific legislation.
  • Operational structure: The IPU has no information on this subject.
DJIBOUTI
  • Current status: Infibulation and/or excision or sunna are frequently practiced in Djibouti, where the overall prevalence of such forms of mutilation is reportedly still 98%. The practice is widespread among the population as a whole; it does not depend on ethnic group, tribe, class or social standing. According to the Ministry of Health, the most common form is infibulation, which accounts for 86% of all mutilations practised; excision accounts for 15% of all such operations. FGM is practised from the neonatal stage up to childhood and on women following childbirth. The age varies according to region and tribe.
  • Legislation: Article 333 of the Penal Code (1995) stipulates as follows: "Acts of violence leading to genital mutilation shall be punishable to five years' imprisonment and a fine of CFA francs 1,000,000". The law is rarely if ever applied.
  • Operational structure:
    - National Safe Motherhood Programme of the Ministry of Health. In 2001, the Programme published the findings of a nationwide survey of the knowledge, skills and practices of female excision practitioners, a report on efforts to increase awareness among journalists of the need to eliminate female genital mutilation and a summary of activities to publicise and implement Article 333 of the Penal Code.
    - National Committee to Combat Female Genital Excision set up in 1992 within the framework of the National Federation of Djiboutian Women.
  • Other information: National campaigns to make mothers aware of the dangers of infibulation are under way. A workshop to create awareness of the provisions of Article 333 of the Penal Code targeted judges and officials in order to build a consensus on a strategy for its implementation.
EGYPT
Updated on 2 February 2009
  • Current status: FGM is reportedly practised throughout Egypt by Muslims and Christians. According to WHO, the prevalence was 97% in 1995. Circumcision is the most common procedure while infibulation is reported in areas of South Egypt closer to Sudan. However, the IPU has no first-hand official statistics or other details on this subject.
  • Legislation: No specific penal law prohibits the practice of FGM. However, approval and/or performance of FGM is a violation of Act 240 of an existing Egyptian penal law, which states that "any person who injures another person or beats him/her in a way that leads to cutting or severing, or impairing the function of any body part, or leads to blindness, shall be punished by 3-5 years imprisonment. In cases of previous deliberate intentions, punishment would be hard labor for 3-10 years". Ministerial decree in 1959 prohibited FGM, making it punishable by fine and imprisonment. Changes have been made over the years. A series of later ministerial decrees allowed certain forms of FGM but prohibited others. At some point doctors were also prohibited from performing FGM in government health facilities, and non-medical practitioners were forbidden from practicing FGM completely. In 1994, the then Ministry of Health (MOH) decreed that FGM should be performed one day a week in governmental facilities only by trained medical personnel, and only if they failed to persuade the parents against the practice. However, this decree was later rescinded (1995) after an international outcry and protests deploring medicalization of the practice.
    In 1996, the Ministry of Health and Population issued decree N° 261 finally forbidding the practice except for medical indications, and only with the concurrence of a senior obstetrician. The decree states: "It is forbidden to perform excision on females either in hospitals or public or private clinics. The procedure can only be performed in cases of disease and when approved by the head of the obstetrics and gynaecology department at the hospital, and upon the suggestion of the treating physician. Performance of this operation will be considered a violation of the laws governing the medical profession. Nor is this operation to be performed by non-physicians."
    The passing of the decree prevented medical practitioners from performing FGM in any governmental facilities or private clinics (since they could face administrative punishment). However, it still did not legally prevent the performance of FGM in a home by a non-governmental medical practitioner. This decree was challenged in court by Islamic fundamentalists and medical practitioners who support the practice. As a result, on June 24, 1997 an administrative court overturned the decree, declaring it unconstitutional. However, in December 1997 the Egyptian High Administrative Court, endorsed the decree and, accordingly, the prohibition of FGM became total even in the absence of a specific penal law against FGM.
    In June 2008, the People’s Assembly approved amendments to Child Law 12/1996 drafted by the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) after months-long debates. The amendments also include the addition of a new clause to Article 7 which ends the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)., stipulating a fine of LE 1,000–5,000 or a prison sentence of between three months to two years for anyone found guilty of conducting a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) procedure.
  • Operational structure: Under the Ministry of Health and Population / Population Sector, there is a campaign for advocacy against FGM to inform traditional leaders in rural areas about the hazards of FGM.
  • Other information: Religious leaders and the Egyptian official media organize campaigns to enlighten people about the irrelevance of FGM to any religious beliefs and its negative effects on the health of girls and women.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
  • Current status: Female genital mutilation is not practiced in Equatorial Guinea.
  • Legislation: There are no laws or legislation that regulate such practices.
  • Operational structure: Not applicable.
ERITREA
Updated on 20 May 2009
  • Current status: Infibulation, excision and sunna are reportedly practised in Eritrea by Muslims and Christians. According to WHO, the prevalence was 97% in 1995 despite positions taken against FGM by the Eritrean People's Liberation Front and the National Union of Eritrean Women. However, the IPU has no first-hand official statistics or other details on this subject.
  • Legislation: Proclamation 158 /2007

    A Proclamation to Abolish Female Circumcision

    Whereas, female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes them considerable pain and suffering and threatens their lives;
    Whereas, this procedure violates women's basic human rights by depriving them of their physical and mental integrity, their right to freedom from violence and discrimination, and in the most extreme case, their life;
    Whereas, the immediate or long-term harmful consequences of this procedure vary according to the type and customs of the procedure performed;
    Whereas, its immediate consequences include severe pain, haemorrhage which can cause fainting or death, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissues urine retention and dangerous infection;
    Whereas, its long-term consequences include recurrent infection of the Urinary system, permanent infection of the fertility system, complications in childbirth (barrenness) and scar formation such as increasing abscess in the labia minora and, prevention of menstruation;
    Whereas, it has been traditionally practiced and is prevalent in Eritrea; and
    Whereas, the Eritrean Government has decided to abolish this harmful procedure which violates women's rights;

    Now, therefore, it is proclaimed as follows:

    Article 1. Short Citation
    This Proclamation may be cited as" The Female Circumcision Abolition Proclamation No.158/2007."

    Article 2. Definition
    In this Proclamation, "female circumcision" means:
    (1) the excision of the prepuce with partial or total excision of the clitoris (clitoridectomy);
    (2) the partial or total excision of the labia minora;
    (3) the partial or total excision of the external genitalia (of the labia minora and the labia majora), including stitching;
    (4) the stitching with thorns, straw, thread or by other means in order to connect the excision of the labia and the cutting of the vagina and the introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina for the purpose of narrowing it;
    (5) symbolic practices that involve the nicking and pricking of the clitoris to release drops of blood; or
    (6) engaging in any other form of female genital mutilation and/or cutting.

    Article 3. Prohibition of Female Circumcision
    Female circumcision is hereby abolished.

    Article 4. Punishment
    (1) Whosoever performs female circumcision shall be punishable with imprisonment of two to three years and a fine of five to ten thousand (5,000.00 to 10,000.00) Nakfa. If female circumcision causes death, imprisonment shall be from five to ten years.
    (2) Whosoever requests, incites or promotes female circumcision by providing tools or by any other means shall be punishable with imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of three thousand (3,000.00) Nakfa.
    (3) Where the person who performs female circumcision is a member of the medical profession, the penalty shall be aggravated and the court may suspend such an offender from practicing his/her profession for a maximum period of two years.
    (4) Whosoever, knowing that female circumcision is to take place or has taken place, fails, without good cause, to warn or inform, as the case may be, the proper authorities promptly about it, shall be punishable with a fine of up to one thousand (1,000.00) Nakfa.

    Article 5. Effective Date
    This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the date of its publication in the Gazette of Eritrean Laws.

    Done at Asmara, this 20th day of March, 2007
    Government of Eritrea.

  • Operational structure: The IPU has no information on this subject.
  • Other information: In 1996, government policy was enunciated to eliminate FGM; to create and enforce legislation prohibiting practices such as FGM; to include in women's health care the prevention of such practices as FGM; and to provide treatment, counselling and rehabilitation for women suffering from FGM-related complications. The Government includes information on FGM in its health and general education programmes. The Ministry of Health carries out government policy relating to FGM and provides training on the topic to primary health care coordinators throughout the country (source: FGM Programmes to Date: What Works and What Doesn't WHO/CHS/WHM/99.5). However, the IPU has no first-hand official information on this subject.
ETHIOPIA
Updated on 21 November 2006
  • Current status: FGM is prevalent throughout Ethiopia and affects all but very few ethnic groups. According to the findings, the occurrence and prevalence of FGM in the country is 72.3 and 73.6 per cent, respectively. FGM is prevalent in 46 out of the 66 ethnic groups, among some of which the prevalence is higher than 75 per cent. Findings of the National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia (NCTPE) show that the predominant type of FGM country-wide is clitoridectomy (52%), followed by excision (19%) and infibulations (3%). FGM is practiced in all regions even though the degree may vary, going from 0 to 25% in the region of Gambella, o 76 to 80% in the regions of Amhara, Afar, Addis Ababa Harari and Oromia. FGM is practiced in both rural and urban communities, with a higher prevalence level in the urban regions, and by nearly all religious groups, especially Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Reasons for practising FGM are said to be myths and superstitions that are said to have been there for generations. To mention some: ensuring respect for tradition; maintaining the moral behaviour of women in society; preventing sexiness; prevent trouble for the husband; preserving virginity; controlling women's emotions or "calming" women, as the communities put it; meeting religious requirements; aesthetic grounds; enhancing marriage prospects; for hygienic reasons. A national survey showed the magnitude of FGM-related morbidity, mortality and disability have devastating effects on the health of Ethiopian women and girls.
  • Efforts to abolish FGM: The 1995 Constitution of the Federal Government of Ethiopia confirms the human and citizenship rights of women. The recently promulgated Family Law (July 2000) also onfirms women's human rights and their equality with men. However, human rights violations such as FGM are not specifically mentioned. Moreover, due to the strongly embedded socio-cultural barriers and the prevailing illiteracy and poverty in the country, FGM is not acknowledge as a violation nor will it be easy to enforce laws when and if they are formulated and notified. Over the past five years, there has been declining support for the practice: 60% or women supported the practice in 2000, against 29% in 2005.
  • Legislation:
    - No specific law.
    - The Constitution prohibits harmful traditional practices.
    - The Penal Code (1960) prohibits torture and cutting off any parts of the body.
    - The Family Law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the CEDAW were ratified and proclaimed to alleviate the problem.
    - New national policies and strategies on health, education and women were drafted.
  • Operational structure:
    - National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia (NCTPE), established in 1987: (i) To undertake a nation-wide survey in order to establish a sound knowledge base for developing appropriate policies and strategies; (ii) To develop capabilities for evaluating the impact of interventions; (iii) To identify the harmful traditional practices; and (iv) To contribute to the ultimate goal of eradicating all forms of harmful traditional practices, especially those affecting human health in the country in collaboration with the Government, non-governmental organisations, international organizations and all stake-holders.
    - Ongoing efforts to prevent FGM are tied to the establishment of committees at all administrative levels.
  • Additional information: Female Genital Mutilation in Ethiopia [PDF]
FRANCE
Updated on 4 March 2002
  • Current status: Female genital mutilation affects girls and women of certain immigrant populations; in 1992, the Women's Group for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation (GAMS) estimated that some 27,000 girls and women had undergone genital mutilation. However, the IPU has no first-hand official statistics or other details on this subject.
  • Legislation: The Penal Code provides as follows: Article 222-7:
    Acts of violence resulting in unintentional death are punishable by 15 years' imprisonment. Article 222-8: The offence defined in Article 222-7 shall be punishable by 20 years' imprisonment when committed: 1. On a minor under the age of 15; 2. On a person whose particular vulnerability, due to age, illness, disability, a physical or mental handicap or a state of pregnancy, is obvious or known to the author; 3. On a legitimate or natural ascendant or on the adoptive father or mother; 4. On a magistrate, juror, lawyer, public or ministerial official, member of the constabulary, police or customs officer, prison official, public transport official or any other person who acts as a depository for public authority or has been entrusted with a public service mission, in the exercise of his or her duties or mission, when the status of the victim is obvious or known to the author; 5. On a witness, victim or plaintiff claiming damages in a criminal case, either to prevent him or her from denouncing the facts, lodging a complaint or testifying, or owing to his or her denunciation, complaint or testimony; 6. By the spouse or concubine of the victim; 7. By a person who acts as a depository for public authority or has been entrusted with a public service mission, in the exercise of his or her duties or mission; 8. By several persons acting as authors or accomplices; 9. With premeditation; 10. With the threat or use of a weapon. The punishment incurred shall be increased to 30 years' imprisonment when the offence defined in Article 222-7 is committed on a minor under the age of 15 by a legitimate, natural or adoptive ascendant or by any other person with authority over the minor. The first two paragraphs of Article 132-23 relating to the term of imprisonment shall be applicable to the offences covered by this article.
    Article 222-9: Acts of violence resulting in mutilation or permanent disability shall be punishable to ten years' imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros.
    Article 222-10: The offence defined in Article 222-9 shall be punishable by 15 years' imprisonment when committed: 1. On a minor under the age of 15; 2. On a person whose particular vulnerability, due to age, illness, disability, a physical or mental handicap or a state of pregnancy, is obvious or known to the author; 3. On a legitimate or natural ascendant or on the adoptive father or mother; 4. On a magistrate, juror, lawyer, public or ministerial official, member of the constabulary, police or customs officer, prison official, public transport official or any other person who acts as a depository for public authority or has been entrusted with a public service mission, in the exercise of his or her duties or mission, when the status of the victim is obvious or known to the author; 5. On a witness, victim or plaintiff claiming damages in a criminal case, either to prevent him or her from denouncing the facts, lodging a complaint or testifying, or owing to his or her denunciation, complaint or testimony; 6. By the spouse or concubine of the victim; 7. By a person who acts as a depository for public authority or has been entrusted with a public service mission, in the exercise of his or her duties or mission; 8. By several persons acting as authors or accomplices; 9. With premeditation; 10. With the threat or use of a weapon. The punishment incurred shall be increased to 20 years' imprisonment when the offence defined in Article 222-9 is committed on a minor under the age of 15 by a legitimate, natural or adoptive ascendant or by any other person with authority over the minor.
  • Operational structure: The IPU has no information on this subject.
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