Egypt is set to toughen penalties for those who force women and girls into genital mutilation (FGM).
Currently the statutory prison term for offenders ranges between three months to three years.
The country’s government has however now approved plans to impose jail terms of between five and seven years, with even harsher sentences if the procedure leads to deformities or loss of life.
FGM has been illegal in Egypt since 2008, but still remains a widespread practice.
The procedure involves the partial or full removal of the external sex organs, ostensibly to control women’s sexuality.
Despite international efforts to rid the world of FGM, the practice is still practiced widely in Africa by both Muslims and Christians.