Gender, Sexuality, Islam & Science – Spring 2023
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ODOS 2016: EIPR submits open letter to WHO urging change of the Arabic definition of female circumcision/FGC/ FGM on its website to correspond with English and French definitions

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To mark the One Day, One Struggle campaign, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights submitted an open letter to the World Health Organization’s high-level Working Group for the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents, calling on it to amend the definition of female circumcision/female genital mutilation on the organization’s Arabic website to correspond with the definition in English and French. The EIPR found substantial discrepancies between the Arabic definition of female circumcision and the definition in all other languages on the WHO website.




The Arabic definition lacks an important sentence affirming that there is no medical basis for the practice. The second paragraph of the Arabic definition also diverges completely from the definition in other languages. The problem is that this incomplete definition is the same one adopted by the Egyptian legislator in recent amendments to the Penal Code article criminalizing female circumcision. The EIPR therefore calls on the WHO to change the Arabic definition on its website and to urge the Egyptian government to alter the definition of the practice in the Penal Code to reaffirm that there is no medical basis for female circumcision.

Read the PDF full letter in Arabic here and PDF full letter in English here.

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