Kenya’s Garissa County leaders urge security agencies to act against those propagating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Female circumcision remains a deeply entrenched cultural practice in Kenya and Somalia. While leaders acknowledged progress, their united call signifies a renewed commitment to eradicating this malicious practice.
Garissa County, KENYA. By Yahya:
During the International Day of the Girl 2023 celebration at Iftin Girls Secondary School in Garissa, Deputy Governor Abdi Dagane and other leaders acknowledged the progress in the fight against FGM. They called for stringent measures to eradicate the harmful practice. Dagane stated: “I’ve just instructed my county attorney to draft the Anti-FGM bill so that it comes to our executive, and we pass it and send it to the assembly.”
Solomon Chesut, acting county commissioner, affirmed, “We are taking stern action on any person involved in FGM activities.” The event provided a platform for intergenerational dialogue, where Bernadette Loloju, CEO of the Anti-FGM board, emphasized, “In the spirit of intergenerational dialogue, we are here as women, leaders, professionals, mothers, opinion shapers, and role models to demonstrate that despite the challenges we face as girls, we come out stronger.”
Somalia: FGM and al-Shabaab
According to a recent EU report, in Somalia, FGM and al-Shabaab are the nation’s most burning problems. The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) updated its Country Guidance on Somalia, delving deeper into the intricate web of armed conflicts, FGM, and female recruitment into the al-Shabaab terrorist group.
While Somalia’s 2012 Provisional Constitution (Article 15) condemns FGM as a cruel practice, no specific law against this terrifying act exists. Puntland introduced a Zero Tolerance Bill in 2021. Yet, it remains pending. Somaliland issued a religious fatwa against FGM in 2018. However, the EU report states that none of these efforts has deterred the widespread practice of FGM throughout Somalia.
Shockingly, nearly all Somali women have undergone some form of FGM, with a staggering 99% prevalence rate among women aged 15-49. The prevalent Pharaonic type of FGM, also called Type III, is particularly prevalent, affecting 64% of surveyed women. Despite legal and religious measures, societal norms and the pursuit of social acceptance perpetuate this harmful practice.
According to the EU, Somali women and girls fearing FGM lack significant protection or support measures. The high prevalence of FGM leaves women and girls vulnerable to physical and psychological harm, necessitating robust safeguards and intervention strategies.