Female Circumcision (1)

The World Medical Association, which represents nearly 70 national medical associations and over three million physicians worldwide, has supported the Egyptian Minister of Health in his bid to continue the ban on female circumcision.

The ban was recently overturned by the Court of Administrative Law in Cairo and now the Health Ministry has decided to appeal against the decision.

Next week another Egyptian court is to hear a challenge to the right of the Education Ministry to introduce a new section into the school curriculum stating that female circumcision is prohibited.

Commenting on the Administrative Court's decision, Dr Ian Field, Secretary General of the WMA, said:

"We utterly deplore the Court's decision and we support the Health Minister's intention to appeal. We condemn female circumcision because of its appalling impact on the physical and mental health of women and children. It is nothing less than female genital mutilation.

"Many world organisations, including the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Human Rights Commission and UNICEF have all recommended that this practice should be eradicated.

"The decision of the Egyptian Court makes a mockery of the United Nations allowing the International Conference on Population to be held in Cairo. I shall be writing to the Egyptian Health Minister to encourage him in his appeal and the World Medical Association and its member associations will continue to campaign for the eradication of this practice wherever it occurs in the world."