“In the 21st Century, this practice which borders on flagrant violation of the fundamental human rights of the girl child and women generally should be outlawed completely. It is criminal, cruel unacceptable and so should never be condoned in any decent society in this modern world”

 

There are growing reports about the prevalence of girls and women genital mutilation globally. According to the United Nations, a total of 200million girls and women are victims of this health hazardous, culturally outmoded and socially traumatizing practice. Out of this number – which is still swelling – 44 million are girls of age 14 and younger! Out of the 30 countries where FMG is most widespread, the majority of girls have undergone circumcision before their fifth birthday. Africa has 27 countries on the ignoble list. Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia top the list of countries where female genital mutilation is practised. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, this dangerous practice is on the increase. Female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision is the practice of cutting or removing some or all the external female genitalia.

 

In most instances, it is performed crudely using local methods by traditionalists. Culturally, it is believed that it prevents or reduces immoral or prostitution tendencies among women as FGM is said to reduce sexual urge and pleasures among women. Hence, baby girls and teenagers go through the painful and barbaric experience of circumcision. Findings reveal that this practice has destroyed many marriages. Often, wives are sexually unresponsive or insensitive to their spouses and so are unable to satisfy the sexual urges of their husbands.

 

Several divorce cases are traceable to this sad development, which is also linked to the cultural patriarchy issue in Africa and other parts of the world. Stakeholders are really worried: Why should such an obnoxious practice and belief still flourish in a digital age? Why are female folks always at the receiving end of our inhuman culture? In Yemen, Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti, the practice is extremely high. “Being born in those countries means you have a nine out of 10 under the practice”, says a UN report adding that 85 per cent of girls population in Yemen experience this practice within their first week of life. Somalia is 98 per cent, while Guinea and Djibouti are 93 per cent each. The report includes India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as pockets of such practice in Australia, North America and Europe. In Nigeria, the UN is expressing concerns that “13 per cent of women – about one out of every ten – who have been genitally mutilated were cut by medical professionals”, said Eugene Kongnyuy, Acting Country Representative, UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

 

It is called ‘medicalization of FGM’. You wonder why professionals are involved in this practice. The UN has set a 2030 target to end this ugly practice of FGM. It is a target that should be supported by all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that this barbaric practice is brought to an end. In the 21st Century, this practice which borders on flagrant violation of the fundamental human rights of the girl child and women generally should be outlawed completely. It is criminal, cruel unacceptable and so should never be condoned in any decent society in this modern world. To combat this problem requires synergy among relevant stakeholders.

We urge members of the civil society organizations (CSOs) to work with medical officers, traditional, religious institutions, as well as international development partners to collaborate by embarking strong advocacy against this harmful practice. There is also the need for an aggressive public awareness campaign on this matter. They should also pursue enforcement of the right of the girl child and women to determine their sensuality status with regard to FGM by invoking Child Right Act (2015). This practise is barbaric, unhealthy and professionally condemnable.

 


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