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Chiefs in Garissa blamed for failed FGM campaign

Friday February 8, 2019

Garissa nominated senator Falhadha Iman speaking at Garissa hotel durring the international day on zero tolerance for female genital mutilation

Failure by chiefs to enforce the law that forbids Female Genital Mutilation is to blame for persistence of the practice, Garissa women leaders have said.

They spoke during the International Day for Zero Tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation held at a Garissa hotel yesterday.

The leaders included Ijara MP Sophia Abdinoor, Garissa nominated Senator Falhadha Iman and her Marsabit counterpart Naomi Waqo. They called for empowerment of the administrators and protection of those who are enforcing the law from intimidation and threats from the community.

In a 2017 study conducted by Unicef in Garissa and Wajir,96 per cent of the Somali girls and women had undergone FGM. In Kenya, the prevalence of FGM among Somalis is 94 percent, the highest.

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Sophia regretted that despite the far reaching negative implications for the emotional well being of girls and women, the community continues to embrace the harmful cultural practice.

“FGM is a violation of the rights of women and girls as it infringes on their right to privacy and dignity apart from causing pain and harm,” Sophia said.

Sophia urged young mothers and girls to rise up and say no to FGM because they are the ones who suffer.

Senator Falhadho said she will be tabling a bill in the Senate to compel the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the county government to establish and adequately equip sexual and gender based violence care units in all public health facilities.

The bill will also provide for treatment and counselling services for victims of sexual and gender based violence free of charge.

It will also put in place coordination mechanisms between health facilities and other agencies involved in addressing sexual and gender based violence. “Through this and many other efforts we are going to scale up the fight against FGM. Let us all remain united and focused to end this retrogressive practice,” she said.

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