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East, Southern Africa Roots for New Law to End FGM

While countries have laws to reprimand for instance the surgeons or parents who force their children to undergo FGM, these laws only apply within the borders of a specific country and may not necessarily apply in neighboring countries.
The Minister of Culture, Peace Regis Mutuuzo

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Countries in East and Southern Africa have agreed to make a regional law that will hold perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation-FGM accountable across borders.

This decision was taken on Thursday during the third inter-ministerial cross-border meeting for addressing female genital mutilation at Speake Resort Munyonyo.


FGM is the deliberate cutting or injuring of genitals to change their appearance often for religious or cultural purposes. In Uganda, FGM is practiced in the six districts of Bukwo, Kapchorwa, Moroto, Nakapiripiti, and Amudat. In neighboring Kenya, it is practiced by the Pukoth, Somalis, Borans, Gabras, and Maasai communities while in Tanzania it is practiced among the Nyatura, Gogo, Maasai, Pare, Kuria, Hadza, Barabaig, and Iraq.



While countries have laws to reprimand for instance the surgeons or parents who force their children to undergo FGM, these laws only apply within the borders of a specific country and may not necessarily apply in neighboring countries.


Peace Mutuuzo, the State Minister of Gender and Cultural Affairs says such a law will go a long way in stopping the practice of parents sneaking into neighboring countries to carry out FGM.


She says one of the areas that the law will address is the new practice of persons carrying out medical FGM.

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In addition to this, delegates also suggested the introduction of alternative rites of passage such as; blessing pronouncements carried out by the father, dances, or communal meals.


Jessica Kusuro Yego, a psychology specialist who has carried research on FGM, and also a member of the Sabiny Cultural Institution says alternative rites of passage such as pronouncements as viable options to replace FGM.


"Blessing pronouncement where pronunciations are made by a father where he anoints the girl's head and blesses her at her graduation ceremony into womanhood are alternatives that can replace FGM," she said.


Bernadette Loloju, the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti- FGM Board in Kenya says communities can use alternatives such as dancing or sharing meals instead of cutting.


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Globally, an estimated 200 million cases of FGM are reported. UNFPA estimates show that 48.5 of these cases occur in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

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Keywords

FGM