FGM

New survey reveals that majority of women in Kurdistan have undergone genital mutilation. Mariam Nadr, 77, has a fine home in an upscale neighbourhood of Erbil and is a prominent member of the community. She has a bright smile, a calm demeanour and wears the white shawl of a respected Kurdish matron. Part of Nadr’s social standing stems from her past: for many years mothers came to her to perform genital mutilations on their daughters. For these women, the act was a cultural and religious rite.

Nearly a decade after a ban on health workers performing female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in Yemen, the harmful practice continues unabated, with the government saying more research is needed before an outright ban can be imposed. “Nine years after the ban we see that it works the opposite of what was intended,” said Wafa Ahmad Ali, a leader of the Sanaa-based Yemen Women’s Union (YWU). “Now instead of going to the hospital where the tools are at least clean, FGM is carried out at home.” The Ministry of Human Rights supports a new study on the practice. “If the study proves that the practice is still being carried out, we will push for a new law,” Huda Ali Abdullatef Alban, minister of human rights, told IRIN. “We hope this new law can be in place within the next four years,” he said .

A l'occasion de la Journée internationale contre les mutilations génitales, célébrée le 6 février, l'Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS) a souligné la nécessité de développer une stratégie mondiale contre la médicalisation de ces pratiques. « 18% des femmes et des filles qui ont souffert de mutilation génitale ont été opérées par des professionnels de la santé », a indiqué Elise Johansen, de l'OMS, ajoutant que cette tendance semblait en augmentation.

Selon les érudits religieux et les activistes qui luttent contre les mutilations génitales féminines et les excisions (MGF/E), une récente fatwa bannissant les mutilations génitales féminines en Mauritanie n’aidera à réduire cette pratique que si les responsables religieux relaient ce message auprès de la population.

Efforts to eradicate female genital circumcision in West Africa have taken a step forward with a fatwa against the practice in Mauritania and sanctions in Niger against mothers who subject their daughters to it. Known also as female genital mutilation (FGM), the tradition involves removing external parts of a girl's genitals and sometimes narrowing the vaginal opening. Bleeding, disease and problems in urinating and childbirth can result for millions of victims each year in Africa and the Middle East.

The forms of violence referred to as “harmful cultural or traditional practices” have been addressed by the United Nations for many years. These forms of violence include female genital mutilation, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, child marriage, forced marriage, dowry-related violence, acid attacks, so-called “honour” crimes, and maltreatment of widows.

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