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Friday, June 5, 2009

Burkina Faso: President launches bid to reduce FGM/C

OUAGADOUGOU, 5 June 2009 (IRIN) - Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaor̩ has launched a campaign to reduce female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) by 30 percent by 2013. Burkina Faso has made more progress on reducing FGM/C than its neighbours, lowering the percentage of girls undergoing the procedure to 50 percent in 2005 from 77 percent in the 1990s. But following a government outlaw of the practice in 1996, some women perfoming excisions are cutting babies, rather than young girls, to escape scrutiny. Marie Rose Sawadogo, permanent secretary of the National Committee against Female Circumcision (CNLPE), told IRIN: "I am calling on the entire population to unite behind this plan to reach zero tolerance to FGM/C by 2015." On 2 June President Compaor̩ travelled to Kaya, 100km north of the capital Ouagadougou Рwhere resistance to stopping FGM/C has been high Рto garner the support of traditional and religious leaders. Some 260 young girls underwent FGM/C in Burkina Faso in 2008, 40 percent of whom required medical treatment following the procedure, according to the CNLPE.