Female Genital Mutilation remains a serious issue in East Africa — Research

Posted by News Express | 30 May 2018 | 990 times

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•28 Too Many Executive Director, Dr Ann-Marie Wilson

New reports on the law and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan from leading FGM research organisation 28 Too Many and the Thomson Reuters Foundation highlight the need for cooperation between countries in the efforts to end FGM. Whilst some countries are already showing positive signs of decreases in FGM prevalence rates, cross-border cutting continues to be an issue which is hindering progress.

Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, Executive Director of 28 Too Many, said: “There is a real need to strengthen national laws to address cross-border cutting, particularly where the existence and implementation of anti-FGM laws vary considerably between countries.”

The movement of families across borders to perform FGM remains a complex challenge for the campaign to end FGM in East Africa, and women and girls living in border communities can be particularly vulnerable.  Even where police in border areas work together with their counterparts to tackle cross-border cutting, often national legislation fails to support these efforts by not clearly addressing cross-border FGM.

Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan are all part of the East Africa Community which enacted the East African Community Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2016 with the aim of promoting cooperation in the prosecution of perpetrators of FGM through the harmonisation of laws, policies and strategies to end FGM across the region. As Dr Wilson points out, “the EAC Act puts the structure in place to tackle cross-border FGM, and the countries that have signed up to it need to ensure that they implement this detailed legislation and that they also strengthen national laws to reflect it.”

The research reports also highlight the need for national laws to do more to keep girls and vulnerable women safe from FGM.  This includes protecting them from social pressure which often leads to cases being withdrawn before reaching the law courts or witnesses failing to appear due to intimidation.

Acknowledging that laws can often be inaccessible and difficult to understand, the new reports have been written to clearly set out the content of the FGM law in Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan and to show what is working and where the ongoing challenges are.

The reports, along with a report on FGM Law in Kenya, are all available to download from the 28 Too Many websites

Source: News Express

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