Mayar Mohammad, a 17-year-old girl died due to severe bleeding and a drop in blood circulation after she was subjected to an illegal female genital mutilation (FGM) surgery in a private hospital in Suez, Egypt.
FGM is banned in Egypt since 2007, but the brutal practice is still widespread in the historic country and especially in rural areas. In February, the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef) said in its annual report on FGM that Egypt witnessed a significant decline of FGM prevalence but still 48% of girls underwent FGM in 2014 compared with 78% in 2008.
After the UNICEF report, Egypt’s Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din said in an official statement that Egypt aims to completely eradicate the phenomena of FGM in Egypt by 2030 and the Ministry aimed to launch a coalition of doctors called “Doctors against FGM,” to persuade the other doctors to finally stop performing the brutal act.
The death of the young girl was the first reported in three-year time and authorities immediately ordered the closure of the private hospital. Egypt’s governmental National Council for Women condemned the unlawful surgery and said in a statement that “performers of such criminal operations must face strict penalties.”
Abdul Abdelaty, a human rights lawyer gave an interview with the Middle East Eye website and said that even though the operation is illegal, it is really cheap. “Doctors ask between $1 and $15 to do it (FGM) because there is a high demand and a constant flow of cash. The economic aspect – it is really important, and it can be stopped only by enforcing the law,” the lawyer said.
According to Gulf News website, friends of the 17-year-old victim blamed her mother for subjecting her own daughter to FGM. “Mayar died due to ignorance and backwardness of her mother, who regarded her daughter as guilty only because she was created a female,” Rawan Al Jamal, a classmate of the victim, said in a Facebook post. Media reported that the girl’s mother is a nurse, while their late father was a surgeon.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported in 2015, that luckily the latest figures from the Egypt Demographic and Health Survey show that mothers’ attitudes in Egypt are changing.
“While 92 per cent of mothers had undergone the procedure, only 35 per cent of them intend to circumcise their daughters,” the survey indicated.