FGM

Egypt: Enforce the conviction against doctor in FGM-related death of Soheir al-Batea

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Dec 10
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

1 FEBRUARY 2016 UPDATE: While we continue to explore ways to enforce the arrest of Dr. Fadl and to get his medical license revoked, we have been in touch with Egypt's National Population Council on another FGM case. 14-year-old “Mouna” was forced to undergo FGM by her father and her aunt. Mouna’s mother, who is divorced from her father, found out and filed a complaint with the police. The Attorney General referred the case to court and after three sessions the verdict was released – a fine of 1000 Egyptian pounds for her father and aunt – the absolute minimum penalty. Small fines and the reluctance to make arrests clearly shows that Egypt, which has the second highest number of affected girls and women in the world, is not serious about ending FGM. Equality Now and our partners will continue to call for the Egyptian law to be strengthened and enforced on behalf of Soheir, Mouna and all the girls and women affected by this human rights violation.


3 DECEMBER 2015 UPDATE: Despite last month’s assurance by the Chief of Police, Egyptian authorities have still not arrested Dr. Fadl, who was convicted in January for his role in 13-year-old Soheir’s death. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate in Cairo has also not taken any concrete steps to revoke Dr. Fadl’s medical license or to shut down his clinic following the complaint filed by our partners CEWLA and ECCR on 16 November 2015.

Renewed call to Action!  87% of girls and women have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt, and medicalization is on the rise. Governments and medical professionals must be held accountable for protecting girls and women from this human rights abuse. Please join Equality Now, CEWLA and ECCR in calling for:

  • The Egyptian police to immediately arrest Dr. Fadl and close down his clinic permanently.
  • The Medical Syndicate to revoke Dr. Fadl’s medical license
  • The government to enforce the anti-FGM law and to support and strengthen community education to change the cultural perceptions and beliefs that promote FGM
  • Comprehensive education and training for health care personnel on the health and human rights implications of FGM as well as their legal obligations to stop all forms of the practice.

Thank you for your support!


16 NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE: Following our hard fought success to obtain justice for Soheir, we have recently found out that 10 months after his conviction, the police have still not taken the Dr. Fadl into custody. He has not served a single day of his prison sentence and his clinic remains open. Therefore, on 12 November, we traveled to Mansoura, Egypt with our partners the Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and Egyptian Coalition on Children's Rights (ECCR) to call for his arrest. Though the Chief of Police  promised to do within 48 hours, Dr. Fadl still remains free. We are now working to ensure his immediate arrest and CEWLA and ECCR have also filed a request with the Egyptian Medical Syndicate to revoke his medical license. We will continue to keep you updated as this progresses.


26 JANUARY 2015 UPDATE: Success at last! Doctor and father convicted in the death of 13-year-old Soheir! This morning, the appeals court in Mansoura overturned the lower court's 2014 decision and sentenced Dr. Fadl to two years in jail for manslaughter and three months for performing FGM. Soheir's father received a three month suspended sentence under the anti-FGM law. The doctor's clinic, where the FGM was performed, was also closed for one year.

This first ever FGM trial in Egypt is hugely important in a country which has the highest number of affected women and girls in the world. In a country where medicalization of FGM is very high (more than 75% of cases performed by medical practitioners), it is also extremely significant that a medical professional was sentenced. Egypt is sending a strong message that FGM will not be tolerated, particularly in the lead up to the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February. We are hopeful that this will be an important stepping stone towards ending this extreme human rights violation once and for all. On behalf of Equality Now and our partners, thank you to everyone who supported this campaign!

Read more in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, New York Times and BuzzFeedNews.


22 DECEMBER 2014 UPDATE: 2nd chance at justice -- The appeal court session took place today with the Prosecutor presenting a very strong case for the appeal court to overturn the lower court's decision not to convict Soheir's father and Dr. Fadl. Lawyers from CEWLA, National Population Council and the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood were in attendance. The decision was postponed until January 26 where the final verdict is likely to be rendered. Please check back then for updates.


17 DECEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The appeal court session previously scheduled for 15 December was moved to 22 December.


5 DECEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The fight to get justice for 13-year-old Soheir continues! The General Prosecutor’s request for appeal was granted, with the first session scheduled for 15 December. Both the prosecutor and the doctor’s lawyers will give their statements again. If successful, the appeal court could reverse the decision and sentence the doctor and Soheir’s father. If the appeal court upholds the decision, however, then appealing to the Supreme Court is a possibility. According to the Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistances’ lawyer, the acceptance of the appeal is a very important step in the process to potentially convict Soheir’s abusers. We will continue to update as information is received.


20 NOVEMBER 2014: Unfortunately a verdict was reached today, which acquitted both the doctor and father despite overwhelming evidence that FGM had occurred. The General Prosecutor submitted a request to appeal the court's verdict. If successful, three judges will revisit the verdict. Our partners in the Center for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance are hopeful that information on when the session might take place will be available soon. Please stay tuned for a renewed call to action from Equality Now and our partners.


17 NOVEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The verdict in the case is expected 20 November. Please check back for updates.


29 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Due to last minute delay tactics by the defense, a verdict wasn't rendered in the trial on the 25th. Instead a decision on how the case will proceed will be made on 23 October. Please check back then for updates.


11 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: The trial to obtain justice for Soheir resumed today with only one of the three witnesses called to provide evidence—the Inspector from the Ministry of Health—in attendance. He gave a strong account and confirmed that Soheir had been subjected to FGM. Since the other witnesses, Soheir's uncle and the medical examiner, did not appear as requested, the judge dismissed their testimonies. The verdict is extremely likely to be rendered on 25 September.


30 JULY 2014 UPDATE: Lawyers from CEWLA and the National Population Council, and Equality Now’s Suad Abu-Dayyeh attended the 10 July session, during which the judge requested further testimony from the medical examiner, the Inspector of the Ministry of Health and Soheir’s uncle. The trial will resume on 11 September.


20 JUNE 2014 UPDATE: During the 19 June court session, the Attorney General presented a strong statement upholding that Soheir's father and Dr. Fadl had illegally subjected Soheir to FGM. The trial has been adjourned until 10 July when a decision is expected to be rendered. Please check back in July for updates.


22 May 2014 Update: The trial to obtain justice for Soheir has begun! Today marked the first day of court proceedings and, as expected, the judge adjourned the case until 19 June. Equality Now’s Middle East/North Africa consultant, Suad Abu-Dayyeh, and representatives from our partner, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), attended the session and press conference that preceded it. We are closely following the court proceedings, and will continue to update you as it progresses.


13 MARCH 2014 Update: Justice—Soheir’s abusers will stand trial!

Following the investigation by the Attorney General, Dr. Fadl and Soheir’s father will face criminal charges for subjecting her to FGM and her subsequent death. This is the first prosecution for FGM in Egypt since it was banned in 2008, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your help! The Attorney General has stated that it was due to the concern and attention of both governmental and international organizations that his office decided to refer the case to the criminal court. Equality Now and our partners in Egypt welcome this positive step and will continue to monitor the court proceedings to make sure that those responsible for Soheir’s mutilation and death are held accountable.

Thank you for your supporting our efforts to end FGM!


5 FEBRUARY 2014 UPDATE: Great News! Our combined efforts to obtain justice for 13-year-old Soheir, who died in 2013 after being subjected to FGM, are working. On 5 February 2014, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population informed Equality Now that its committee reviewed Soheir’s death and decided that Dr. Fadl’s clinic will be closed pending further investigation by the Attorney General. The Egyptian Medical Syndicate will also conduct a professional ethics investigation into Dr. Fadl’s actions.

Equality Now will continue to work with our local Egyptian partners to monitor these investigations to ensure that they are properly conducted and that those responsible for Soheir's mutilation and death are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As medicalization of FGM is on the rise in Egypt, please continue to keep up the pressure on officials to effectively enforce Egypt’s anti-FGM law and fully prosecute all violations.

Thank you for your support and continued advocacy. We will continue to update you as Soheir’s case develops.


 

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Equality Now’s Suad Abu-Dayyeh at the home of Soheir al-Batea

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Egyptian partners, the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) and the Egyptian Coalition for Children’s Rights (ECCR) in calling on the government of Egypt to live up to its domestic and international obligations by:

  • Effectively enforcing its FGM law by properly investigating and fully prosecuting violations and in particular ensuring that Soheir’s death is properly investigated including by arranging for medical experts to review the forensic report
  • Ensuring that Dr. Fadl is thoroughly investigated and held accountable for all crimes he is found to have committed
  • Supporting and enhancing community education to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and acknowledging FGM as a human rights violation with harmful consequences
  • Ensuring that health care providers are given comprehensive education and training on the health and human rights implications of FGM and refrain from performing any form of the practice

Letters should go to:

Minister of Interior, Police General, Magdy Abdel-Ghafar
Ministry of Interior
Sheikh Rihan Street Downtown Cairo, Egypt
Tel: +20 27953981- +20 27955005
Fax: +20 27960682
center@iscmi.gov.eg

Minister of Health & Population Ahmad Emad El Deen Rady
3 Magless El Shaàb Street, Al Kasr El Einy, Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 2795 1821
Fax: + 202 2795 3966
Email: webmaster@mohp.gov.eg

Attorney General Mr. Nabeel Sadeq
Attorney General's Office
High Court, 26th of July Street Ambulance Square, Cairo, EGYPT
Tel.: +202 2574 3751-2576 0468
Fax: +202 2577 4716

Pro. Dr. Hussein Khairy
Chief of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate
Fax 0020 27962751
info@ems.org.eg
Fax: +20 27962751

Copy to:

Dr. Ahmad Hani, Director at the National Population Council, Fax: +20 25240409, Email: npc.npic@gmail.com, npic@npc.gov.eg

Letters: 

Dear Minister/Attorney General/ Chief of the Medical Syndicate,

I am deeply concerned that Dr. Raslan Fadl still has not been arrested though he was convicted in early 2015 in the case of 13-year-old Soheir al-Batea, who died in June 2013 after he subjected her to female genital mutilation.  I am also concerned about reports that Dr. Fadl appears to still be practicing medicine and that his clinic remains open despite the ruling that it was to be closed.
 
FGM has been a criminal offense under the Egyptian penal code since 2008. Despite this ban, UNICEF reports that medicalization is on the rise in Egypt with an estimated 72% of procedures being performed by doctors in private clinics which risks FGM becoming even more deeply entrenched in Egypt. Without strong messages from the government, such as proper implementation of the law and swift punishment for the perpetrators, girls will continue to face abuse and possible death, with women’s rights increasingly taking a back seat at all levels.

The steps you have taken in this case are therefore critical, and I urge you to ensure that Egypt lives up to its domestic and international obligations on women’s and girls’ human rights. Please ensure that Dr. Fadl is arrested as a matter of urgency and that his medical license is revoked.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Efua Dorkenoo nominated for Woman of the Year for anti-FGM work (Get West London)

11/12/2013 -- Get West London -- "Genital mutilation campaigner nominated for Woman of the Year" Advocacy Director, FGM Program Efua Dorkenoo has been nominated for a Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year Award in recognition for her 30 years of hard work and dedication.

UK hospitals must treat FGM as child abuse (Thomson Reuters)

11/4/2013 -- Thomson Reuters -- "UK hospitals must treat FGM as child abuse - report" Advocacy Director, FGM Program Efua Dorkenoo discusses new report released by the Intercollegiate Group (Equality Now, Royal Colleges of Midwives, Nursing and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and UNITE) and its partners on tackling FGM in the UK.

Health professionals in the UK must screen for FGM (BBC)

11/3/2013 -- BBC -- "Health professionals must screen for genital mutilation" Advocacy Director, FGM Program Efua Dorkenoo discusses new report released by the Intercollegiate Group (Equality Now, Royal Colleges of Midwives, Nursing and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and UNITE) and its partners on tackling FGM in the UK.

How schoolgirls in western Kenya are rising up against FGM and child marriage (Thomson Reuters)

10/11/2013 -- Thomson Reuters -- "How schoolgirls in western Kenya are rising up against FGM and child marriage" Nairobi Office Director Faiza Jama Mohamed on our call to action to the Kenyan government and local county governors to protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws.

Kenya: Protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2013 Oct 10
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

1 JANUARY 2016 UPDATE:  On 11 December 2015, we were honored to participate in an Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony held by our partner the Tasaru Ntomonok Initiative, in Narok, Kenya. 120 girls graduated after undergoing a four day training on health, Maasai traditions, the importance of education, and their rights, including the dangers of FGM and “child marriage”. During the ceremony, the Anti-FGM Board and Equality Now distributed a simplified version of the Prohibition of FGM Act 2011 in English and Swahili. Aimed at promoting understanding, the booklet targets girls, parents, teachers, mentors, police, social workers, chiefs, medical practitioners and community members to encourage them to take an active role in protecting girls from FGM and to increase reporting to the police.


1 NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE: Progress! Political will to protect girls from FGM is rising and strong anti-FGM networks, including survivors, are increasing across Kenya. Surveys are also showing decreasing prevalence. To build on this progress and to help improve enforcement of Kenya’s anti-FGM law (Prohibition of FGM Act 2011), we worked with the Anti-FGM Prosecution Unit and the Anti-FGM Board to create a comprehensive FGM case-tracking tool.  The tool aims to promote accountability in the reporting, investigation, and prosecutorial phases of cases, while also providing authorities with the ability to track successes where the girls were spared from FGM due to proactive judicial mechanisms and alternatives to criminal prosecution, e.g.  injunctions, parental agreements. Information gathered will help pinpoint areas where interventions are most needed to protect girls and women at risk and to ensure the successful implementation of the law. Piloting of the tool began in Narok County in September 2015.

We also collaborated with the Anti-FGM Board to develop a simplified version of the anti-FGM law in English and Swahili aimed at non legal professionals. The booklet targets girls, teachers, chiefs, police, parents, medical practitioners and the general public to encourage them to protect, prevent and reports the practice of FGM. It also includes information on the FGM hotline and girls rescue centers where the public can report and receive assistance.


31 JULY 2014 UPDATE: In the last seven months, Equality Now and our partners have been greatly encouraged by improved efforts to investigate and enforce Kenya’s 2011 Anti-FGM law and by the increased coverage of the issue in the Kenyan press. In April, the Director of Public Prosecutions created a 20 member Anti-FGM prosecution unit to track cases, educate communities about the law and accelerate prosecutions, particularly in high prevalence areas. Within its first few weeks, the unit brought several cases to court involving parents, circumcisers and a chief who failed to report FGM. The unit hopes that its investigations, prosecutions and community awareness-raising efforts will act as a deterrent to the practice. Additionally, local governments are increasingly receptive to working with civil society organizations to address the issue.

On the national level, Kenyan Parliament members were asked to bring forward a motion to increase penalties for FGM and to thoroughly review existing FGM cases, following a June protest in Kajiado (traditional home of the Maasai) where demonstrators called for the repeal of the FGM law. Kenyan legislators swiftly condemned the protest and re-iterated that violators would be prosecuted. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has also publicly called for Kenya to “achieve zero FGM status.” While there is still extensive work to be done to end FGM in Kenya, these progressive developments and the work of the Anti-FGM Board are showing increased political will to protect girls and women from FGM, locally and nationally. We will continue to update you as the campaign progresses and we thank you for your continued support.


UPDATE 30 JANUARY 2014: Between November and December 2013, Equality Now supported our Kenyan partner Women Rights Institute for Peace in providing shelter to 45 runaway girls at the Sandai rescue centre in Baringo. Happily, the girls are safe and have returned back to school. However, until protective measures are put in place, particularly during FGM mass mutilation seasons, girls in at-risk communities will remain in danger.

In response to advocacy, the Kenyan government took a positive step forward by creating an Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board and appointing the Honourable Linah Jebii Kilimo as Chairperson in December 2013. Hon. Kilimo was instrumental in passing Kenya’s Anti-FGM Bill in 2011 and has been actively working with governmental and non-governmental organizations to eradicate FGM. Equality Now and our partners welcome these developments and urge the government to work closely with the Anti-FGM Board to fulfill its mandate as described in the Prohibition of FGM Act of 2011 (Section 5).

Please continue to call on  Kenyan national and local governments, authorities and the Anti-FGM Board to work together to protect girls by: enforcing laws against FGM and child marriage, educating the public on the harms of these human rights violations, and supporting girls escaping FGM and child marriage.

Thank you for your support.


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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our partners WRIP and TNI in calling on the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
  • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations.
  • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
  • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and acknowledging the practices as human rights violations with harmful consequences.

Letters should go to:

H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
President of the Republic of Kenya
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
Email: contact@statehousekenya.go.ke or president@statehousekenya.go.ke

H.E. Ms Anne Waiguru        
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Devolution and Planning
P. O. Box 30005 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 2218475
Email: info@devolutionplanning.go.ke

Hon. Prof Githu Muigai., M.P.
Attorney General
Department of Justice, National Cohesion and
Constitutional Affairs
Harambee Avenue
P.O Box 40112-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 315105
Email: info@justice.go.ke

H.E. Dr. Richard Belio Kipsang,
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Education, Science &Technology
Jogoo House B
Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 30040
Nairobi, Kenya
Fax: +254 20 214 287

Benjamin C Cheboi
Baringo County Governor
P.O Box 53-30400,
Kabarenet, Kenya
Email: governor@baringocounty.go.ke

Simon Kitalei Kachapin
West-Pokot County Governor
PO Box 1 - 30600,
Kapenguria, Kenya
Email: info@westpokot.go.ke

With a copy to: The Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, Email: info@kewopa.org

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Governor,

Following reports of Kenyan girls running away from female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, especially during the August and December holidays in the Pokot region, I am deeply concerned about the Kenyan government’s lack of enforcement of its laws against FGM and child marriage.

The Pokot government needs to work within communities to protect and support girls and enforce laws to make sure violations are adequately addressed.

FGM and child marriage are human rights violations and have a host of negative physical and psychological implications for girls and women. Kenya is a party to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which requires State parties to prohibit both FGM and child marriage and to ensure “protection of women who are at risk of being subjected to harmful practices.” Kenya has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and both the Committees associated with these treaties have called for an end to FGM and child marriage. The Kenyan constitution as well as Kenyan laws such as the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 and the Children’s Act 2001, ban FGM and child marriage.

I commend the government of Kenya for putting in place legislation on FGM and child marriage and for creating the Anti-FGM Board as important steps toward protecting the rights of Kenyan girls and women. However, despite frequent reports about cases of FGM and child marriage being carried out and girls escaping to avoid these practices, there have been no known investigations or prosecutions to date in the Pokot region, and the government has taken no steps to protect the girls who are running away to avoid being violated. I urge the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action in accordance with Kenya’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time and in particular during the school holidays.
  • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations.
  • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education.
  • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and to acknowledging them as human rights violations with harmful consequences.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

U.N. pressures Indonesia to stop health workers performing FGM (Thomson Reuters)

8/12/2013 -- Thomson Reuters -- "U.N. pressures Indonesia to stop health workers performing FGM"; Efua Dorkenoo, advocacy director of Equality Now’s FGM programme, on the “medicalisation” of FGM.

Is the End in Sight for Female Genital Mutilation? (National Geographic)

7/26/2013 -- National Geographic -- "Is the End in Sight for Female Genital Mutilation?" National Geographic speaks with Equality Now's Efua Dorkenoo about the struggle to end FGM:

Anti-FGM Rally Held in London (Sky News)

7/20/2013 -- Sky News -- "Female Genital Mutilation: Campaigners' Rally"; Campaigners against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) rally in Trafalgar Square to highlight the issue of girls being taken abroad to be 'cut' during the summer holidays.

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