Somalia: Zero Tolerance to Female Circumcision.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has to end in Somalia according to the new constitution, which is set also to end eight years of political transition.

SomaliSwiss online news    (06.09.2012)

(SomaliSwiss) – Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a deep-rooted traditional practice that is more prevalent in Somalia. According to the World Health Organization, it is practiced in 28 out of the 52 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where a national prevalence ranges from 5 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 98 percent in Somalia. The age at which the procedure is carried out varies from 8 to 20 years or as late as just before marriage.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has to end in Somalia according to the new constitution, which is set also to end eight years of political transition.

Elias Adam SomaliSwiss news    (06.09.2012)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a deep-rooted traditional practice that is more prevalent in Somalia. According to the World Health Organization, it is practiced in 28 out of the 52 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where a national prevalence ranges from 5 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 98 percent in Somalia. The age at which the procedure is carried out varies from 8 to 20 years or as late as just before marriage.

FGM Procedures is classified into four major types: 1. Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris  (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris). 2. Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina). 3. Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.4. Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area.

Female circumcision types that are widely practiced in Somalia; (excision or infibulation), one is known as Pharonic circumcision, and it is to cut the vital foreskin of the female genital organ, and then sewing it by leaving narrow passage for the urine. The second one is known as Sunna Circumcision and it refers to the religious term of Sunna which means not compulsory but good to do it. It is also to cut small party of the female genital foreskin. According to local hospital known as Madina hospital in Mogadishu ‘’certain number of women die due to severe bleeding after the circumcision procedure. This clearly highlights FGM as human rights violation.

Ayan Nur, 34-year-old mother of one. Was circumcised when she was 9.Today, she is complaining about a back-pain that comes with the routine menstruation, and each time she goes to see her Doctor routinely. The circumcision has a social and health impact, some critics suggest that circumcision as a main cause for the high rate of divorce among the Somali society. Most of the circumcised females consequently remain sick for the rest of their lives due to GFM’s serious health impacts.

Campaigns to end Circumcision (Beschneidung)

Civil society in Somalia gave FGM the first priority for the last two decades in an effort to root it out and prevent many women from being circumcised by using the mass media to preach people over the case and raise awareness across Somalia, and many attempts were made to reach the whole society by holding seminars, and symposiums about the social and health impacts of FGM.

Abdi-Aziz Ahmed; an activist in Mogadishu underscores the importance of the Somali government role and say:-  ‘’Now it is time for the government to take action and outlaw the FGM in consistent with its new constitution, as it is a serious human rights abuse.’’ The government is first and foremost responsible for its citizens and must take the appropriate measures to end FGM in Somalia which holds the highest rate of FGM in Africa.

The new provisional constitution states, “Circumcision of girls is a cruel and degrading customary practice, and is tantamount to torture. The circumcision of girls is prohibited.” The fact that the new provisional constitution outlaws the circumcision of girls is a good development, though it requires action, awareness-raising, community involvement, and strong legal provisions.

‘’The FGM is the most controversial and unchallenged traditional practice in Somalia, which has only been banned in 2012, unfortunately there are still Men and Women who believe that circumcision is a religious requirement according to Islam or issues of chastity, and makes women pure and reduces sexual libido remain widespread’’. Ibrahim said.

Traditional hardliners continue to defend the circumcision and insist that abandoning this traditional practice would mean surrender to the western world. On the other hand the civil society; journalists, human rights activists, religious scholars and other intellectuals backed by the international community continue challenging FGM practice in parallel with the provisional constitution that outlaws FGM.  Taken all together; the campaign against FGM, which is sustained by the new constitution has to end the ordeal of Somali women who are suffering under the most controversial traditional practice on earth.

By: Elias Adam

SomaliSwiss@hotmail.com

%d bloggers like this: