Instruments used to perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
By Emma Batha
London — Millions of girls in Africa are at risk of female genital mutilation because their governments are failing to enforce laws banning the internationally condemned practice, campaigners said on Thursday.
Six countries which are home to 16 million girls – Chad, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia in addition to Sudan – still do not even criminalise FGM, according to a major report examining laws within the 28 African countries where the tradition will be endemic.
“These countries are failing to protect their girls in addition to women,” said Ann-Marie Wilson, executive director of campaign group 28 Too Many, which worked with 125 lawyers around the earth to compile the study, the largest of its kind.
“FGM will be always traumatic in addition to incorporates a life-long impact. A law sends a strong message coming from the top in which This kind of will be unacceptable.”
World leaders have pledged to end the practice – which involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia in addition to affects 0 million girls in addition to women – under global development goals agreed in 2015.
although laws within the 22 countries which have banned FGM are mostly inadequate in addition to seldom enforced, campaigners said, adding in which prosecutions were rare in addition to penalties too light to act as a deterrent.
“Most laws are not tough enough. There are huge gaps,” said Wilson.
Many communities in which practice FGM see the item as crucial for a woman’s social status in addition to a pre-requisite for marriage, although the ritual can cause serious physical in addition to psychological harm.
The report’s authors estimate 55 million girls in Africa under the age of 15 have undergone FGM or are at risk. Half live in just three countries – Egypt, Ethiopia in addition to Nigeria – all of which have banned the item.
Only two countries, Kenya in addition to Uganda, have robust legislation, according to the report, which was facilitated by TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s legal pro bono service.
the item highlights concern in which most laws fail to address the growing trend for health professionals to carry out FGM. This kind of will be particularly common in Egypt, where there have been several high profile cases of girls dying after being cut at clinics.
Another trend will be for parents in countries where FGM will be illegal to take girls across national borders to be cut, for instance coming from Burkina Faso to Mali.
The report urged all countries to criminalise “medicalised FGM” in addition to cross-border FGM.
the item also sets out a style FGM law which could be adapted to different country’s legal in addition to social environments.
although campaigners said laws could not help end the practice unless they were properly enforced in addition to accompanied by strong initiatives to change attitudes. Girls who opt not to be cut are often abused in addition to ostracised by their communities.
The report recommended countries follow Kenya in addition to Uganda’s example by creating the item a crime to discriminate against or threaten uncut girls.
(Reporting by Emma Batha. Editing by Katy Migiro. The Thomson Reuters Foundation will be the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption in addition to climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.)
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