Ugandans ban female circumcision

A community in eastern Uganda has banned the deeply rooted practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), an official has said.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Data and Trends

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An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and more than 3 million girls are at risk for cutting each year on the African continent alone.

ETHIOPIA: More parents saying no to FGM

ADDIS ABABA, 11 September 2008 (IRIN) - Fewer Ethiopian parents are subjecting their daughters to female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM), according to an NGO campaigning to eradicate the practice.

"The knowledge [that FGM is harmful] is increasing," said Abate Gudunfa, head of the Ethiopian National Committee on Traditional Practices (commonly referred to as EGLDAM - its name in Amharic]. "Children born more recently are safer."

Mali: Violence Against Women on the Rise

BAMAKO, 2 October 2008 (IRIN) - At least 300 women are victims of sexual violence every year in Bamako, according to local police records, but the actual figure is much higher said the president of the Bamako-based non-profit, Women in Law and Development in Africa.

While there are laws in place to protect women, many forms of violence in Mali are sanctioned by tradition, practice

YEMEN: Call to improve women's status

Photo: Muhammad al-Jabri/IRIN
Three married girls (aged eight, 12 and 10) during a public discussion by civil society organisations on child marriage

SANAA, 22 September 2008 (IRIN) - Much more needs to be done to improve the status of women in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula, in line with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), officials said.

LIBERIA: FGM continues in rural secrecy

MONROVIA, 24 September 2008 (IRIN) - Thousands of young girls annually prepare for their initiation into a women’s secret association, Sande Society, which operates mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. As part of their initiation, young women take a vow of secrecy after weeks of training in the forest, promising not to not tell uninitiated girls or men what happens to them, to assume new names, and to have their clitorises cut off - known as female
genital mutilation (FGM) - according to women in the secret society.

Call on Mali Government to Pass Law Against FGM

Equality Now has just issued an Update in its campaign against FGM in Mali, renewing its call on the Malian government to support the passage of a law criminalizing FGM as a matter of urgent priority. The Action also provides an update on the remarkable health and educational progress of Fanta Camara, whose case was highlighted in Women's Action 25.1. For the Update, please click on the following link:

Campaign Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On the occasion of the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! would like to draw your attention to the press release below. This is a response to a recent Report issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Statement on the 2008 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children

Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community for periods often spanning generations. Every social grouping in the world has specific traditional cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful to a specific group, such as women. These harmful traditional practices include female genital mutilation (FGM); forced feeding of women; early marriage; the various taboos or practices which prevent women from controlling their own fertility; nutritional taboos and traditional birth practices; son preference and its implications for the status of the girl child; female infanticide; early pregnancy; and dowry price. Despite their harmful nature and their violation of international human rights laws, such practices persist because they are not questioned and take on an aura of morality in the eyes of those practising them.

The harmful traditional practices identified in this Fact Sheet are categorized as separate issues; however, they are all consequences of the value placed on women and the girl child by society. They persist in an environment where women and the girl child have unequal access to education, wealth, health and employment.

In part I, the Fact Sheet identifies and analyses the background to harmful traditional practices, their causes, and their consequences for the health of women and the girl child. Part II reviews the action taken by United Nations organs and agencies, Governments and organizations (NGOs). The Conclusions highlight the drawbacks in the implementation of the practical steps identified by the United Nations, NGOs and women's organizations.

To read the report, go here:

Sierra Leone government to ban female circumcision

February 4, 2008

FREETOWN (AFP) — The new government in Sierra Leone has vowed to outlaw female circumcision, a common practice in the West African country, the social welfare minister said Monday.

Minister Haja Musu Kandeh said the government "has an expressed commitment to ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)."

She did not state when the ban would take effect.

"Female genital mutilation is a harmful practice and my government...will work to eradicate it in this country," Musu Kandeh said at an event organised by a local anti-FGM group, the National Movement for the Emancipation of FGM.

"The practice is a fundamental violation of human rights as some women and girls may not have expressed their consent to undergo the practice," she said.

Between 35 and 40 percent of women in the country undergo circumcision, she said, traditionally believed to control female sexuality and make girls more "marriageable."

But several FGM practitioners were swift to criticise the upcoming ban.

"It is our culture and we should be allowed to continue it," circumciser Mamy Vandi said.

Another worried about loosing her livelihood.

"This is how I make my living. If they take it away from me, I shall be a pauper overnight," she said.

Still carried out in 28 African countries according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), FGM often causes infection and sometimes death.

Overall, between 100-140 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide, the WHO reports. Some three million girls yearly are at risk of infection, the agency says.

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