An amendment in Egypt which involves harsher penalties for genital mutilation of girls and women, has entered into force.
Offences are now punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years, announced the Health Ministry in Cairo om Sunday.
The law will be enforced by the authorities supervising and controlling clinics and private hospitals, insists the ministry in a statement.
The government sent as early as August the bill to the National Assembly, which adopted it a few days after. The amendments took effect last Tuesday.
FGM is still relatively widespread for girls in Egypt, especially in rural areas. The procedure implies that all or part of the external female genitals are removed or otherwise damaged.
This is done without any medical justification and apparently for the purpose of controlling female sexuality.
Under the new law, those who perform such procedures, will be punished by imprisonment of up to seven years. Previously, the maximum penalty was two years.
If surgery results in permanent disability or death, the perpetrators risk jail for up to 15 years.
The new law also means that parents who force girls to undergo female genital mutilation, will face imprisonment between one and three years
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today