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Friday, September 30, 2011

GPs urged to look for signs of female genital mutilation in young patients

Monday, 5th September 2011
The United Kingdom

Family doctors have been urged to be aware of the signs of female genital mutilation in young girls from certain ethnical backgrounds.

Chairman of the British Medical Association's (BMA) Ethical Committee Dr Tony Callard was quoted by healthcare magazine Pulse as saying physicians should look out for signs of the issue throughout the year, although they may need to be particularly vigilant as kids come back from the summer holidays.

Girls who are especially at risk may be from countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Iraq, while they are usually between the ages of seven and nine.

The BMA has issued guidance for GPs on the matter, advising that patient confidentiality can be broken if a doctor is worried a child may have been harmed.

Female genital mutilation can include the removal of parts of the labia or clitoris, as well as the narrowing of the vaginal opening and Dr Calland suggested GPs try questioning parents gently if they suspect a girl may have undergone the procedure.

"Start off in a anonymous way, but obviously if there is a significant risk you are honour-bound to break the confidence," the expert advised, saying the issue should be treated in the same way as other types of abuse.

The World Health Organisation reports that up to 140 million women and children across the world have been subject to female genital mutilation, which can lead to problems urinating, bleeding and complications during childbirth.

by David Smith

Swiss outlaw female genital mutilation

September 30, 2011
World Radio Switzerland

Both houses of the Federal Assembly have voted to outlaw female genital mutilation in Switzerland.

It passed almost unanimously in the National Council, save for one member of the Swiss People’s Party.

The petition was brought forward by the women’s section of the Social Democrat Party.

Leader of the campaign, MP Maria Roth-Bernasconi, said outlawing the practice would speed up court cases against perpetrators, as well as send out a powerful message.

A second motion to enact an information campaign about the crime also got the go-ahead.

This is to inform the public, as well as parents who must decide whether their daughter should be circumcised, that the practice is illegal in Switzerland.

Bernasconi said it would also make government officials presiding over asylum applications aware of what some women face if they must return to their country of origin.

To read the full article on the World Radio Switzerland website, click here

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Egypt girls hospitalized after FGM operation

September 28, 2011
Manar Ammar

CAIRO: Two Egyptian girls suffered massive blood loss after traditional birth attendants (daya) performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on them in Fayoum, an hour south of Cairo.

The emergency room at the General Hospital in the town received the two girls and gave them blood transfers and stitched them up to close the bleeding.

Doctors at the hospital called the police, who questioned the father of the two girls, but refused to tell of the daya or press charges.

FGM is banned in Egypt and any doctors or medical staff involved in the operation could lose their medical license and face time in prison.

Egypt banned the practice in June 2007, after an 11 year-old-girl died on an operation table at a private clinic in Minya, south of Cairo.

Bedour Ahmed Shaker was given an excessive dose of anesthetics and never woke up, reports stated. The father of the child had sued the doctor for medical malpractice, but he himself was not liable in front of the law. Al-Azhar, the Sunni world’s top authority on Islamic law, came out the same year and banned the practice, saying that Islam is “innocent of such practices,” a first in the organization’s history after it had taken a neutral stance toward the practice for years.

Coptic Pope Shonouda soon followed the Islamic clerks footsteps, saying that the Bible mentions no such practice and it should be banned.

According to the World Health Organization an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. 90 million of those women live in Africa.

To read the full article on the Bikyamasr website, click here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Uganda People News: Government Asked To Implement Anti-FMG Act

September 26, 2011
UG Pulse
Ultimate Media

The former members of Parliament have asked the government to implement the anti-Female Genital Mutilation Act to stop the practice which is reportedly still going on in some districts in eastern Uganda.

The remark was made by the chairperson of the former members of parliament, Jane Alisemera at the celebration of a peace day at Peace High School in Bukwo district, which has many students from the districts that practice FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).

Alisemera says that a section of people in the districts of Kaphorwa , Bukwo and Pokot are going on with the practice without being  arrested despite of the existence of the anti Female Genital Mutilation law enacted in 2009.

The FGM Act states that anybody found in the act of FGM shall be sent to jail for 10 years and a subsection states that if someone who FMG is applied on dies during the act or due to the act, a life sentence shall be imposed.

Alisemera has asked the government to invest in the sensitization and education of the community practicing the FGM to abandon the practice because its dangerous to the girls’ lives and violates their rights.

To read the full article on the UG Pulse website, click here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Female Genital Mutilation, not Europe’s problem. Or is it?

September 23, 2011
Women News Network (WNN)
Sabine Clappaert

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a topic that has been rarely associated with Western Europe, yet due to the arrival of immigrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, female circumcision has become a specific Western concern. It is estimated that in the European Union alone, 500,000 girls and women live with FGM and every year another 180,000 are at risk of being circumcised.

“The numbers on how bad the problem really is throughout European societies, are sketchy,” admits Dr Els Leye, a scientist at the International Centre for Reproductive Health at the university of Ghent (Belgium), who is specialized in FGM. “Various countries have done research and published estimates on the number of women living with FGM in their respective countries, but the real extent of the problem has certainly not been mapped in representative detail yet, as many of the studies to not take asylum seekers or undocumented cases of FMG into account.

While FMG is illegal in most European countries, “the practice is certainly still prevalent amongst communities originally from countries where FGM is practiced,” Leye adds. “Most often, the girls are taken back to their country of origin to be circumcised.”

But how can girls that have grown up in Western societies willingly submit to circumcision? Leye explains: “Firstly, we must remember that parents and family members will often tell the girl that there is going to be a feast to honor her becoming a woman. It is presented as a ‘coming of age’ celebration, not as a painful, traumatic procedure. Secondly, as is often the case in child abuse, children don’t willingly report their parents.”

Even so, why does nobody notice anything amiss when the girl returns from holiday – a teacher, for instance? “Because our teachers have not been trained to recognize the signs of FGM,” says Leye, “does a girl go to the bathroom more often, or does she seem to be in pain, for instance?”

Therein lies one of the greatest challenges surrounding FGM in Europe, according to Leye: “Those people that are most likely to come in to contact with FGM victims – teachers, health care staff, police, childcare workers – are not aware that FGM is a real problem nor are they trained to recognize the symptoms.”
Ifrah Ahmed (23) was circumcised in Somalia when she was eight years old. “I don’t remember much. We were a whole group of girls being circumcised together.” Ifrah was circumcised a second time when she was thirteen. “I was circumcised by a doctor so I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones; I know of girls that were circumcised with broken glass. What I still don’t understand is how a doctor – an educated man – can do such things to young girls.”

Ifrah fled to Ireland five years ago, when she was just seventeen. Today, she is a vocal opponent of FGM and one of the main faces of the European ‘Ending Female Genital Mutilation’ campaign. “I don’t want other girls to go through what I went through, no matter where they were born or where they live,” she says.
Even in Ireland, the Somali community has ostracized Ifrah for her stand against FGM and the social pressure to conform to tradition, also abroad, cannot be ignored. “Somali men here have told me that I should stop attacking things which are part of our culture and Somali women tell me that it will be my fault if girls can’t find a husband because they have not been circumcised. I have received threats, yes. I have even gone to the police with certain voice-mails and have had to leave Dublin because I am so outspoken about FGM.”
Despite her personal ordeal and the opposition she faces from her own community, Ahmed continues her campaign and remains optimistic. Ireland recently passed legislation outlawing FGM. Will imposing a law provide the answer, I ask her? “Certainly imposing a law will help, but we still have a long way to go,” she admits. “What is more important is that the law is enforced. Without follow-up, any legislation becomes meaningless.”

Leye agrees: “Legislation is only a part of the solution. Yes, we need legislation but we also need to make sure the system acts upon these laws.” To date, France is the only EU country that has prosecuted people for committing FGM. To date, it has had 30 court cases related to FGM.

Thirty court cases and more than 500,000 women at risk; a dismal track record.
One of the most important reasons for the limited number of court cases can be found in the difficulty of finding adequate proof to bring a FGM case to court. “Add to that the limited knowledge of FGM – amongst police, health personal and other authorities, as well as the personal attitudes of these professionals toward migrant populations or FGM and you can see how many unseen barriers there are in addressing this problem,” says Leye.
“We often hear the argument that FGM is part of certain cultures and traditions and that we as westerners shouldn’t meddle in the customs of other cultures. This is a complex debate, with many grey areas, but when it comes to FGM I base my view that it is unacceptable on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” says Leye.

While the battle against FGM, also in Europe, is far from won, things are moving. Various EU institutions have committed to contributing in various ways to mapping the prevalence of FGM throughout Europe, to help raise awareness and educate key authorities on dealing with FGM in their communities
“We’re beginning to see a coordinated approach that tackles the problem on an European level. Now FGM is on the European agenda, that a major step forward,” concludes Leye.

Gender communications expert and WNN Brussels based journalist Sabine Clappaert has published her work also in De Morgen and Flanders Today (Belgium), Pink Ribbon magazine, The Bulletin, IPS News (UK/International) and Destiny Magazine (South Africa). Clappaert is dedicated to covering human rights issues and development as they intersect with women inside and outside Europe.

To read the full article on the Women's News Network website, click here

Fatoumata Diawara: Fatou – review

September 15, 2011
The Guardian
Robin Denselow

"Fatou" Diawara would seem to have everything going for her. Born to Malian parents and now based in Paris, she's young, good-looking and has already enjoyed a successful career as an actress and a musician, working with the great Malian diva Oumou Sangare. It was Sangare who introduced her to World Circuit, a label with a famously limited but distinguished roster, and she prepared for the release of this debut album with a series of shows, both as a soloist and with a band. On stage she showed confidence, charm, and a cool, clear voice Рbut at times seemed a little derivative, playing acoustic guitar like the early Rokia Traor̩ and with inevitable echoes of Sangare in her songs. The album is a more varied affair, with her solo work matched against subtle backing from the likes of Tony Allen on drums, Toumani Diabat̩ on kora, and even John Paul Jones on bass. The mood is often light and laidback, but she demonstrates her soulful vocals on the bluesy Sonkolon or on a praise song to Oumou, and echoes Oumou's bravery in the passionate, no-nonsense Boloko, a plea to end female circumcision. It's an enjoyable, impressive set, but now she must show if she really has the originality of Mali's greatest female singers.

To read the full review on The Guardian website, click here

Law alone won’t end female circumcision

September 23, 2011
Daily Nation
Felista Wangari

Growing up in Narok the 1980s, Shinina Shani knew that every girl underwent the cut.

It was the rite that transformed girls into women, and which every proud Maasai girl went through.

However, Ms Shani’s Christian parents refused to give in when she begged them to allow her to be circumcised in order to fit in with her peers.

She got used to being referred to as Entito, a term which means girl, but when used to refer to an uncut woman is insulting.

Her father, too, had to bear contempt for allowing his daughter to escape the cut.

Even in the backdrop of the recently-passed law that prohibits female genital mutilation, not much has changed as cases of female circumcision in Narok South remain high.

Ms Shani, who now works as a crusader against the rite in the area, puts the female circumcision prevalence at over 90 per cent.

“The few girls who choose to avoid it are shunned and referred to as cowards and fake Maasais. They believe it is a bad omen to remain uncut and have children,” she explains.

Such beliefs keep a practice that was banned by presidential decree four times — the first time being in 1982 — alive.


Moreover, laws such as the Children’s Act, the Sexual Violence Act and the Domestic Violence Act, which aim to protect girls and women against harmful cultural practices, have had little, if any, effect on the custom.

However, Mount Elgon MP Fred Kapondi, when moving the motion, said that the existing laws had loopholes that allowed the practice to continue.

It is those loopholes that the Bill seeks to seal and top female circumcision.

Ms Shani applauds the law as timely.

Pre-teen and teenage girls in communities where it is still practised are getting ready for the peak circumcision season, which occurs during school holidays in December.

However, she is wary of the enforcement of the law, which will be key in stamping out the entrenched custom.

“Many laws have been enacted that could be used to protect women, but their people remain ignorant about them. Even some of the law enforcers are ignorant about the legislation that hinders implementation.”

“The government must make sure that information about this law reaches the communities concerned and that the law enforcers are also aware of the law and implement it. Otherwise, it will be just another law without results,” she explains.

Once it becomes fully operational, the law will protect women who have not undergone the cut from people who drive them to the cut with insults and discrimination.

A quarter of circumcised women surveyed in 2008/9 mentioned social acceptance as one reason they do it.

Under the new law, knowing that a woman is being circumcised and keeping quiet about it could land you in jail.

Other offences under the law include performing the cut, using one’s premises for the rite, aiding and abetting the performance of the cut, possession of tools to practice female circumcision, and taking a Kenyan to be circumcised outside the country.

Unlike the previous laws, which protected girls and women from general harmful cultural practices, the new law specifically targets female circumcision, defines it, and outlines the offences and penalties.

One found guilty of a crime under this law will be fined a minimum of Sh300,000 and a maximum of Sh500,000 while a jail term will last from three years to a maximum of seven years.

While praising the law as a harsh deterrent if implemented to the letter, campaigners maintain that such a deeply-rooted tradition cannot be stopped using the law alone.

They argue that the first approach should be to create awareness and persuade communities to abandon the unnecessary, risky and illegal cultural practice.

“We prefer a non-confrontational approach so as not to strain the girls’ relationship with their community, and it usually works. However, if dialogue fails, then the law can come in to protect the girl,” says Grace Senewa, a World Vision a project coordinator in Narok.

In a statement after the law was enacted on September 7, First Lady Lucy Kibaki, while calling on law enforcers to implement it strictly once it became fully operational, noted that legal bans alone could not change customs and cautioned that the law could drive the practice underground.

The campaigns against female circumcision preferred by some non-governmental organisations appear to have borne some fruit.

Data from the 2008/9 KDHS shows there has been a decline in the national prevalence from 38 per cent in 1998 and 32 per cent in 2003, to 27 per cent in 2008. This decline rises with the education level of the women involved.

Girls who have at least a secondary school education are less likely to be circumcised (19 per cent), as compared to women with no education, of whom 54 per cent have undergone the cut.

Among the Somalis, where 98 per cent of women report having had infibulation — the most severe form of the cut — female circumcision is seen as a religious requirement and most of the women believe it should continue.

Circumcision is also prevalent among the Kisii and the Maasai with a prevalence of 96 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.

Campaigns against female circumcision show that the trend has been to cut the girls when they are younger as almost half of the girls between 15 and 19 years were circumcised before they turned 10 years.

Grace Senewa, says that a campaign to promote an alternative rite of passage that does not involve circumcision has attracted more girls in Narok North over the years.

Girls who opt for the alternative rite of passage are taught the harmful effects of circumcision and persuaded to reject it.

One such rite was held last week at Olesito Primary School in Narok North, where 400 girls aged between 10 and 15 years graduated.

This was an increase from 70 girls who took part in the initial ceremony five years ago.

The ceremony was used to educate the people about the dangers and the new stringent legal implications of female circumcision.

Ms Senewa says that unfortunately, some girls who escape the cut are forcibly circumcised during childbirth.

“For such cases we are grateful that women can use the law to seek protection and justice,” she says.

To read the full article on the Daily Nation website, click here

Female Circumcision in Khartoum Increased to 65.4 Percent

August 14, 2011
Sudan Vision Daily
Khalida Alias

Secretary General of the National Council for Child Welfare, Gamar Habbani said that the rate of female circumcision in Khartoum reached 65.4 percent, according to the result of the medical survey, indicating that there are 48 centers at the Ministry of Social Development.

Addressing  the training workshop to get rid of female circumcision, Habbani said that the increase in the proportion of female circumcision in Khartoum is due to emigration from the countryside to the capital, pointing to efforts to combat this practice, pointing out that UNICEF gives special attention to fight female circumcision in Sudan.

For his part, member of the Islamic Fiqh Academy, Mohammad Hashim Karar affirmed that the Islamic Law stressed the need to leave the girl unharmed.

Director of Reproductive Health, Dr. Sawsan Al-Taher tackled psychological and sexual harm caused by female genital mutilation.

To read the full article on the Sudan Daily Vision website, click here

Friday, September 23, 2011


Date of event: 17 October 2011 - 19 October 2011
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
The main purpose of this conference is to review existing knowledge and identify knowledge gaps with regards to the health consequences of FGM/C and their treatment, as well as review of community based interventions against FGM/C and their efficacy. The conference will also help in strengthening of leadership and research capacity of FGM/C issues in Africa by a) creating a network and a platform for a network of researchers based in African countries, and b) explore the possibilities of establishing an African Centre for research and leadership training for the abandonment of female genital cutting.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gambia: Stakeholders Discuss UNFPA/Unicef Programme On FGM

Aminata Sanyang
September 22, 2011
Banjul, Gambia

Stakeholders from some West African countries and the United States of America Wednesday began a three-day training on monitoring and evaluation of the joint UNFPA/UNICEF programme on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) at Jerma Beach Hotel and Resort in Kololi.

The purpose of the training is to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the FGM/C programme as well as develop the capacity and accountability of the countries in West Africa.

The West African countries represented at the training include The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Reuben Mboge, the resident coordinator of the UN Systems in The Gambia spoke on the joint programme of UNFPA/UNICEF.

He said: "As monitoring and evaluation is everyone's business once you are involved in the project implementation irrespective of your position in the organisation, the importance is the need to know where we are in terms of achieving results and making impacts." He noted that the training would serve as an experience-sharing forum and urged the participants to make best use of the opportunity.

Nafisatou Jobe spoke on the UN Resolution 54/7 ending FGM. She went on to dilate on the elements contributing to ending FGM/C practice, saying that it is promoted by enabling communities to access correct information about the practice from trusted sources.

She described the joint project as vital to support the enactment and implementation of national legislation and policies to end practices that are both culturally sensitive and consistent with the attainment of human rights, including the elimination of discrimination against women.

Jobe further highlighted the achievements registered in terms of the fight against FGM. "We are in the right track for improving the lives, health and dignity of women and girls in Africa," she said.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New law prohibits practice of female genital mutilation in Guinea-Bissau

September 13, 2011
Iain Murray

BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau, 13 September 2011 - This past June, the National Popular Assembly (ANP) of Guinea-Bissau approved a law prohibiting female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) nationwide. The controversial law had been on the table for discussion for 16 years, before it was ultimately approved by 64 votes in favour to 1 vote against.

45 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 years are affected by the newly prohibited practice, due to its deep significance in traditional culture. These long-held cultural beliefs make implementing the legislation a particular challenge in Guinea-Bissau

Cadi Seide, a young mother and a member of the Community Management Comittee of Canquebo village, expressed her pleasure at the decision to ban FGM/C, and highlighted that while communities were mired in the divisive debate over the traditional and religious practice, FGM/C had continued to impact women and girls in towns and villages across the country.

Raising awareness

There is widespread agreement that considerable work lies ahead, particularly to raise  awareness on why this harmful custom should be ended. Currently 33 per cent of women approve of the continuation of female genital mutilation across the country.

While over 50 per cent of the population agree that the practice of female genital mutilation should be abandoned, prevalence of the practice remains high and the trend is worrying. Nevertheless the approval of this law by the ANP is an important first step to protect the physical integrity of women and girls across Guinea-Bissau.

UNICEF is implementing a joint programme with UNFPA and the NGO Tostan in Guinea-Bissau to promote the end of FGM/C. To date this joint programme is targeted at achiveing public declarations of the abandonment of FGM/C in 39 communities in the Gabu and Bafata regions where the practice is most prevalent.

To read the full article on the UNICEF website, click here

Friday, September 9, 2011

INDONESIA: FGM/C regulations mistaken as endorsement, experts fear

September 1, 2011

WEST JAVA, 1 September 2011 (IRIN) - Guidelines on how to perform female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health could cause an increase in the practice, medical experts and rights groups fear.

"This will give doctors a new motivation to circumcise [girls] because now they can say the Ministry of Health approves of this, and the Indonesian Ulamas' Council approves of it," Jurnalis Uddin, doctor and lecturer at Yarsi University in Jakarta, told IRIN.

Though FGM/C was banned in 2006, two of Indonesia's Muslim organizations, including the largest and mostly moderate Nahdlatul Ulama, ultimately condone the practice advising "not to cut too much", and, as a result, many continue to perform the procedure.

By directing health professionals not to cut a girl's genitals but to "scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris", the Ministry of Health stands by the regulations, passed in June, as a medically safe form of FGM/C representing an effort to further regulate the illegal practice and protect women.

But recent uproar has questioned this reasoning. Others are concerned the guidelines could well be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the procedure, combined with an enticement for doctors to encourage the practice, Uddin said.

"I think that doctors will use these guidelines to make money from circumcision," Uddin said, adding that Indonesia's poorly regulated medical practitioners often viewed medicine as a business.

FGM/C is typically done at birth, or before a girl is five years old and in the past was often performed by local healers, called dukun, or by birth attendants. Traditionally, FGM/C was mostly "symbolic" with a small cut on the clitoris, or rubbing the clitoris with tumeric root, making it less invasive than other types of FGM/C.

However, Uddin, who conducted an Indonesia-wide survey of FGM/C practices in 2009, said he had found that when medical practitioners performed the procedure, there was a trend toward more extensive cutting of the clitoris.

Public outcry 

Dozens of Indonesian groups continue to call for the Ministry to revoke the guidelines.

"This gives a justification for health practitioners to damage women's bodies," said Frenia Nababan, spokeswoman for the Indonesian Family Planning Association. She added, "We fear it will increase control of women's bodies by the state and religious groups."

Amnesty International, is one of more than 100 signatories to a letter stating that the guidelines should be revoked partially on the grounds of Indonesia's child protection laws, as well as the government's commitment to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), signed by Indonesia in 1984.

Experts say there has been increasing support for the practice from Muslim groups since the downfall of authoritarian leader Suharto in 1998, resulting in greater religious and political freedom, known as "Reformasi".

"Before Reformasi [FGM/C] was mostly done on an individual basis, but since Reformasi, it has been done in mass events," said Siti Musda Mulia, an academic specializing in Islamic studies, who initially conducted research on the process during the Suharto era, and has conducted follow-up research since 1998.

Uddin found Indonesia-wide FGM/C had not increased dramatically since the Suharto era; however in some areas, such as Bandung, West Java, there was an increasing tendency to perform it, even among moderate Muslims.

Across Indonesia approximately 12 percent of female babies born in hospitals, birthing centres or assisted by government midwives have been circumcised, a figure that excludes FGM/C procedures done outside such facilities, Uddin said.

FGM/C remains a controversial practice, with debated origins. Religious experts say it is a foreign cultural practice not sanctioned in any of Islam's religious texts.

Even a scratch or small cut on the clitoris is a dangerous procedure to perform on infants, say medical practitioners. Long-term consequences include bladder and urinary tract infections, as well as cysts and infertility.

The Ministry of Health argues it is not "legitimizing or legalizing" FGM/C with its standards but only trying to make the practice less risky by encouraging trained health professionals rather than traditional healers to perform the procedure.

"It is feared that community members who want to circumcise female babies will therefore go to traditional healers for this procedure, and it will increase the number of [medical] complications. If this procedure is done by health professionals, then it has to be done in accordance with the ministerial instruction 1636, and this will guarantee the protection of the female reproductive system," the Ministry stated in response to national criticism.

To read the full article on the IRIN website, click here

Female circumcision drops in Senegal

September 8, 2011
Afrique en ligne

The rate of female circumcision dropped from 28 to 26 percent between 2005 and 2011, according to the fifth Multiple Indicator Demographic and Health Survey in Senegal (EDSV-MICS), conducted under the auspices of the National Agency of Statistics and Demography (ANSD).

According to ANSD, which presented the preliminary results of the survey here Wednesday, the survey was based on levels of fertility, sexual activity, fertility preferences, as well as knowledge and the use of family planning methods, among others.

'With regard to the practice (circumcision), nearly 26 percent of all women surveyed are reported circumcised. In 2005, this practice was 28 percent,' said ANSD.

It said female circumcision was less common in cities (23 percent), compared to 28% in rural areas, while the rate of circumcision is higher in uneducated women than the educated ones, and decreases in accordance with the (higher) level of education.

The survey also shows that religion plays a role, with nearly 27 percent of Muslims having undergone circumcision, against just under 7 percent for Christian women.

'The most important differences are observed according to ethnicity and region. While female circumcision is virtually nonexistent among the Wolof (less than 1 percent) and the Serer (2.2 percent), it affects more than 8 out of 10 women among mandinka (82 percent), 65 percent among Soninke, nearly 55 percent among the Fulani and nearly 52 percent among the Diola, ' the ANSD said.

The survey was conducted from October 2010 and April 2011 among a national sample of 8212 households in Senegal.

To read the full article on the Afrique en ligne website, click here
Pana 19/08/2011

FGM: Kenya acts against unkindest cut

September 9, 2011
Sarah Boseley's Global Health Blog

Kenya has become the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation, with the passing of a law making it illegal to practice or procure it or take somebody abroad for cutting. The law even prohibits derogatory remarks about women who have not undergone FGM. Offenders may be jailed or fined or both.

Members of the Kenyan Women Parliamentary Association said it was a historic day. Linah Kilimo, its chairperson, said the move would improve school attendance. And Sophia Abdi Noor said:

I have fought for 18 years to achieve this legislation. Today is independence day for women. Men got their independence in 1963 – but today women have achieved independence from the cruel hands of society.

Unicef congratulated Kenya. Its child protection specialist in Kenya, Zeinab Ahmed said:

It is a great day for the girl child of Kenya. FGM is a serious violation of the rights of the child and of women. This bill gives an indication from government it is not just a cultural practice that can go on. The government has taken a bold step and will not tolerate any more violations. I applaud the work of Kewopa, the ministry of gender and the many other partners who have worked tirelessly to ensure that girls are protected from FGM.

Nobody imagines this means FGM will never take place again in Kenya, but making it illegal is a massive step towards changing attitudes and giving strength to those who oppose the practice. Kenya follows a number of African governments in outlawing the practice. According to the Pan African news agency, at the time of the African Union summit in June, which proposed prohibition of FGM, Benin, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Central African Republic, Senegal, Chad, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda already had legislation against it.

But in nine countries (including some of those where it is illegal) it is still widely practised. In Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, 85% of women undergo mutilation.