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3-judge bench reconvenes for hearing on FGM decriminalization

Dr Tatu Kamau (pictured) has argued provisions of The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2011) curtail the rights of women and girls to make independent decisions regarding their bodies/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – The hearing of a petition in which a Kenyan doctor is seeking decriminalization of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was set to resume on Tuesday before a three-judge bench.

Tatu Kamau has argued provisions of The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act (2011) curtail the rights of women and girls to make independent decisions regarding their bodies.

She has petitioned the court to allow women aged 18 and above the discretion on FGM matters.

Justices Lydia Achode, Margaret Muigai and Kanyi Kimondo who comprise the bench hearing the matter were set to hear from Equality Now, a network of lawyers and activists championing efforts to bring an end to FGM and other harmful practices impeding the rights of women and girls.

In her submissions when she appeared before the three judges in October, Kamau said the reference to “female circumcision” as mutilation was particularly malicious and was intended erode an age-old tradition that, “conferred honour to women.”

“To use the word in our context suggests that it is malicious and that we are intentionally damaging our females. To me, it is very wrong,” she told the court during a hearing in October.

“Women who took their daughters for circumcision were not taking them there to destroy them. Those children were not thrown away afterward, they were celebrated as respected members of the society.”

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