Africa moves to ban female genital mutilation

Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (PANA) - Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is part of the agenda of the 19th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council which opened here Sunday.

The item on FGM was proposed by Burkina Faso, to educate African States on the need to fully support the draft resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations to ban FGM in the world, because it is considered harmful to women's health.

The draft resolution is the result of a campaign that involves Burkina Faso and Egypt, among other countries, after it was revealed that 91.5 million victims of this phenomenon in the world are mostly children under the age of nine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that, despite the efforts over the last two decades to eliminate FGM in the world, "about three million girls undergo yearly the risk of genital mutilation."

In Malabo, the AU foreign ministers will, among other things, consider setting up a common front and harmonised fight against FGM.

The recommended actions include the creation and implementation of national mechanisms to inform, educate, prevent and suppress the practice of FGM, as well as the ratification and implementation of regional and international legal instruments to fight against the phenomenon.

In Africa, the main actions against the practice are attributed to the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices affecting the Health of Women and Children (CWC), chaired by Burkina Faso since 2008, and national committees in 28 States considered to be the continent’s most affected.

Their initiatives and those of others led to the adoption in 2003 of the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the rights of women, commonly called the "Maputo Protocol".

The  instrument is devoted to the provisions for protecting and guaranteeing the rights of women, while pushing  African states to take "political and legislative measures" for the elimination of  FGM.

PANA learned that so far, fewer than 20 of the 28 most affected African countries have adopted legislation against FGM.

Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Central African Republic, Senegal, Chad, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda have already put in place legislation against FGM.

In Africa, the greatest impact of this phenomenon was identified in nine countries (Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan) where over 85% of women are victims of FGM.
-0- PANA IZ/CJB/SSB/JEN/SEG 26June2011

26 june 2011 13:56:47

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