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The Cruelest Cut: Kenya Bans Female Genital Mutilation

The Cruelest Cut: Kenya Bans Female Genital Mutilation


Kenya is the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation (FGM), 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.

What is Female Genital Mutilation?

FGM is a traditional practice that may cause severe physical, psychological and sexual problems for the victims, who are usually circumcised at a young age.

According to the World Health Organization, female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.

A Historic Day For Women

From The Guardian:

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

Massive Step Towards Changing Attitudes

The passing of this law does not mean 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.

FMG Still Widely Practiced In Nine Countries

However, in nine countries (including some of those where it is illegal) it is still widely practiced. In Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan, 85% of women undergo mutilation. That’s an awful statistic for a practice that is recognized as barbaric and sexist.

Related Stories

Ugandan Government Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation

Photo Credit: CIMMYT

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3:21PM PST on Jan 2, 2014

When will Male Genital Mutilation meet the same end ? Why is it still not illegal ?

4:29PM PDT on Jul 27, 2013

tell your state, province, country that you want it not only made illegal but you want the doctors arrested too. this is happening in your neighbourhood and we can stop it if we stand up and say NO!

7:00AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Excellent Step for female Genital Mutilation.We also have take Step and published EBOOK for Female Genital Mutilation.Here is the close look.

7:16PM PDT on May 5, 2012

Passing laws against FGM is step forward, but unfortunately it will still be practiced, especially in more rural or outlying areas. Cultural practices and attitudes are harder to change than laws.

6:40AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

Good news on the surface. But that it is still practiced at all, even in those countries that have banned this barbaric & inhumane mutilation is still cause for concern. Education along with laws is what is needed to further prevent this from happening to other young girls.

1:47AM PST on Jan 5, 2012

Thanks for the great news. Hopefully more countries will follow suit.

7:15PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Ban FGM for good!!!

5:43PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Nine more countries to go!!!

7:27AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

It is about time that madness to be put to end. It is shame how it 21st century there are still places in the world where that cruel "ritual" is performed. Bravo for everyone who helped this happen!

11:48AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Not all the credit is for women. Many men, brothers, fathers, lovers, friends worked hard to end this practice!

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