Regional Assembly (EALA) set to debate FGM

June 3, 2016 7:15 pm
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Hon. Dora Byamukama granted leave to introduce the EAC Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016/EALA
Hon. Dora Byamukama granted leave to introduce the EAC Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016/EALA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – EALA has granted leave to Dora Byamukama to introduce a Bill entitled the East African Community Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill, 2016.

The Bill which outlaws the cultural practice is seen as critical and in essence numbers the days of those that still engage in the cultural practice whidn entails the removal of some or all of the external female genitalia.

Overview
  • According to Byamukama, with the advent of the Common Market Protocol which necessitates free-movement and cross-border nature, the influence of culture and hence spread is expected to increase if not checked.
  • Contributing to the debate, Judith Pareno remarked that surveys show an estimated 200 Million women in 27 countries in the Continent have undergone FGM.
  • Saoli ole Nkanae noted that the practice is prevalent among the Maasai people in East Africa, terming it a serious matter.

Byamukama states that the culture of FGM brings with it a number of complications including early child marriage and defilement, health complications that sometimes lead to transmission of HIV and AIDS, death and injuries to those who bear the practice.

According to Byamukama, with the advent of the Common Market Protocol which necessitates free-movement and cross-border nature, the influence of culture and hence spread is expected to increase if not checked.

Contributing to the debate, Judith Pareno remarked that surveys show an estimated 200 Million women in 27 countries in the Continent have undergone FGM.

Saoli ole Nkanae noted that the practice is prevalent among the Maasai people in East Africa, terming it a serious matter. Also rising in support of the Motion was Hon Frederic Ngenzebuhoro.

UNICEF estimated in 2016 that 200 million women had undergone the procedures in 27 countries in Africa, as well as in Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen, with a rate of 80-98 percent within the 15-49 age group in Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Sudan.

The practice is also found elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East, and among communities from these areas around the world.

The practice is deemed to be rooted in gender inequality and attempts to control women’s sexuality and ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics. It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour, and who fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion.

The health effects can include recurrent infections, difficulty urinating and passing menstrual flow, chronic pain, the development of cysts, an inability to get pregnant, complications during childbirth, and fatal bleeding.

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