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Egypt parents arrested after 12-year-old girl dies from genital mutilation

Egypt is one of the top four countries for FGM

A 12-year-old girl has died after her parents forced her to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt.

The doctor, who performed the procedure in a village in Assiut in Upper Egypt, was arrested along with Nada Abdul Maksoud's parents and aunt after her uncle reported her death to the authorities.

Despite the fact that FGM has been criminalised in Egypt, the state has failed to put an end to the surgery, which is known for being severely painful. Egypt is one of the top four countries that carry out the procedure worldwide.

Unicef says 87 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49-years-old, both Christian and Muslim, have been genitally mutilated in Egypt.

Millions of victims live with the infertility, infection, increased risk of childbirth complications and problems urinating which can come as a result of FGM.

READ: 66 European MPs condemn human rights situation in Egypt

Egyptian law stipulates a five-seven year prison term for doctors and a one year sentence for those who instigate the mutilation, yet despite legislation and pressure from rights groups there is a distinct lack of accountability for perpetrators, particularly given that the practice and its victims rarely make it to the news.

In the past, dayas, or midwives, performed the surgery but since it was criminalised doctors have been carrying out the practice, which gives a dangerous veneer of legitimacy to such a dangerous practice and also enables them to charge high prices.

In some cases, parents cannot afford the extra charge of the anesthetic so their daughters are mutilated without it.

Globally it is estimated that 200 million women have been impacted by FGM but activists say this is a "massive understatement."

In June last year evidence emerged that the practice was more widespread than originally thought and rights groups urged world leaders to make female circumcision a priority.

In December 2018 an Egyptian man sued his wife after he found out she had had their daughters mutilated without his consent.

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