Mayar was receiving the operation in a private hospital under anesthesia when she died of heavy bleeding as a result of FGM, which still affects more than 70% of girls in Egypt.
Mayar’s death brings back the sad memories of the death of 11-year-old girl Bedour who died due to FGM in 2007. There could be many more girls whose deaths might not be reported.
This incident has once again thrown a spotlight on the suffering of millions of girls and women in Egypt who have undergone female genital mutilation and still suffer from its long-term consequences. Mayar’s death reinforces the urgent call to protect girls from this form of violence, which is a violation of their human rights and is intricately linked with issues of power and control.
Plan International calls upon the government to investigate the case and bring to justice the individuals responsible. The organisation also calls for implementation and strict enforcement of national law which criminalised FGM in 2008.
We urge the government, religious leaders, civil society organisations, and media, local communities to fight this harmful practice that violates girls’ rights to bodily integrity, sexual and reproductive health, their right to protection and to live free from violence, and in extreme cases like Mayar’s - their right to life.
According to WHO, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. FGM has no medical benefits, and can cause lifelong physical and emotional trauma for the millions of girls and women forced each year to undergo the procedure. These include lifelong debilitating complications such as fistula, infertility and complications during childbirth, as well as death.
Eliminating harmful practices
Plan International in Egypt has been implementing FGM projects since 2006. For Plan International, eliminating harmful practices such as FGM requires an integrated and multi-sectoral approach – to strengthen child protection systems, address gender discrimination and promote sexual health and reproductive rights as part of a strategy to combat all forms of violence against girls.
This requires action at all levels from legislative reform and implementation and enforcement of laws to changing norms, attitudes and behaviours towards girls. Community engagement and leadership is critical to bringing about this change.
With Mayar’s death Plan International would like to renew its commitment with our partners to fight all forms of harmful traditional practices. We will never stop until girls are protected from all harmful traditional practices and are able to enjoy their full potential.
Plan International experts are available for media interviews.