14 December, 2009

Uganda bans female Circumcision

At last: Uganda bans female genital mutilation! Last Thursday, the Ugandan parliament unanimously passed a bill banning the very risky and cruel circumcising of females. Unlike Kenya, circumcision, both for males and females, is not widely practiced in Uganda. Anyone convicted of the practice, which involves removing all or part of the female genitalia, will face 10 years in jail or a life sentence if a victim dies.

Eastern Uganda is where the cruel, traditional rite is practiced most. Female circumcision is practiced in many parts of Africa and Asia. Reasons given for the practice vary from place to place. They include:
  • Sexual: to control or reduce female sexuality.
  • Sociological: for example, as an initiation for girls into womanhood, social integration and the maintenance of social cohesion.
  • Hygiene and aesthetic reasons: where it is believed that the female genitalia are dirty and unsightly.
  • Health: in the belief that it enhances fertility and child survival.
  • Religious reasons: in the mistaken belief that FGM/C is a religious requirement.
According to WHO:
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
  • In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
  • FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Though it has taken rather long for Ugandan lawmakers to have passed such a law: congratulations to Ugandan parliamentarians for leading the way in East Africa. May Kenyan and Tanzanian legislators do the same. Please!

Search Safari Notes