FGM: Girls urged to sue their parents

August 13, 2008 12:00 am

, NYERI, August 13 – Girls who have been forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage should sue their parents for compensation, according to a magistrate in Nanyuki.

Hannah Ndung’u, Nanyuki’s acting senior principal magistrate, urged minors on Tuesday to make applications so that they can receive compensation from their parents.
Speaking during an alternative rite of passage event at the Al’Jijo primary school in Laikipia North district, Ndung’u expressed hope that penalties to be imposed against rogue parents would help eradicate the retrogressive practices.
But the lawsuits, she observed, should be filed before the girls attain 18 years of age.
Ndung’u noted that the penal code illegalises any violation of children’s rights, especially where their bodies would be harmed.

Ndung’u said that a defence of child’s consent cannot be taken by the courts, since the Children’s Act considers children to be psychologically unable to make any decisive move on their future lives, particularly where their rights would be violated.
The magistrate said that the courts are ready to assist offended children, through awarding them compensations that would help them rebuild their dreams in life.

Every year, said the coordinator of Yiaku (minority community) Peoples Association (YPA) Jennifer Koinante, hundreds of girls are withdrawn from schools and married off after being cut.
Kointante said the retrogressive practice had rendered local women illiterate, since they do not go past primary school level.
Koinante, whose Association organised the event that saw 56 girls graduate through the alternative rite, said the training would now be reflected towards parents and boys, who remain a threat to the development of girls.

Parents, she said, force their daughters to take part the cut, while morans target the girls for sex after they are circumcised.


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