Actions speak louder than words on FGM

Hawa was commenting on a recent statement made by the Attorney General calling for a law to stop FGM in Somalia, where 98% of females aged 15-49 have been cut. The practice has been unconstitutional in Somalia since 2012, but no bill has been passed to ban FGM outright. According to Hawa, “action still remains evasive because conservative forces, mainly comprising radical religious leaders, are still adamant about the need to retain the so called sunna type of FGM.”

Somalia’s attorney general at the Zero Tolerance to FGM meeting in Mogadishu 27 July 2016. Photograph: Amisom/Ifrah Foundation

Somalia’s attorney general at the Zero Tolerance to FGM meeting in Mogadishu 27 July 2016.
Photograph: Amisom/Ifrah Foundation

“Debate on this is delaying progress,” she said “and even amongst the policy makers, public statements might not necessarily mean action on ground. But we are still hopeful that a break through on anti-FGM legislation will be realized soon.”

According to Hawa, FGM in Somalia is mostly performed during the period May to July when schools are closed and most families move to the rural areas. “We have just received a case of a girl who has suffered great loss of blood after she was subjected to the practice. Our social workers are trying to have the girl transferred from her rural home some 45 kilometres away to Galkayo town for treatment tonight. Hopefully we will be able to save her life and that she will not succumb to hemorrhage.”

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