The leading women’s rights organization, Equality Now (www.EqualityNow.org), appealed to the President of Kenya and President of the East African Community, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who chairs the Economic Community of West African States. urge their peers to prioritize efforts to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) across borders in their specific regions.
In a press release issued at the end of the 16 days of activism on Friday, December 10, the director of the Africa office of Equality Now, Faiza Mohamed, observed that cross-border FGM was prevalent in East and South Africa. ‘West where the lack of regional mechanisms for monitoring and data on cross-border practice remains.
She underscored the need for high-level political commitment from all heads of state and government in East and West Africa to collaboratively address cross-border FGM by adopting concrete and comprehensive solutions that would include prosecution of cases, urging Presidents Akufo-Addo and Kenyatta to lead this process.
Ms. Mohamed added that porous borders, humanitarian crises, political instability, weak administrative structures, the absence of laws prohibiting FGM, the poor application of these laws where they exist and ineffective coordination between agents. Law enforcement between neighboring countries of Regional Economic Communities were some of the main drivers of cross-border FGM in Africa.
“Efforts to end FGM among member states of regional economic communities through legislation have not been harmonized. In addition, communities living at border points share common cultures and customs. This allows them to easily cross borders for the purposes of FGM and especially in situations where FGM is prohibited in their country of origin.
We therefore urge President Akufo-Addo and President Kenyatta to prioritize and include efforts to end cross-border FGM in the agenda of their specific regional economic communities and in accordance with the Saleema initiative that the African Union launched in 2019, ”Ms. Mohamed said.
In West Africa, cross-border FGM is endemic in Burkina Faso and Mali, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania and Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. In East Africa, Kenya has witnessed cross-border FGM where girls, women and excisors are taken to Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Somalia to commit these human rights violations, as the perpetrators attempt circumvent the laws and systems that have been put in place to end FGM. There have also been cases where women and girls of other nationalities have been transported to Kenya for cutting.
Ms. Mohamed further noted that Kenya had shown the political will to galvanize action to end FGM, further imploring President Kenyatta to apply the same dedication and spirit he had demonstrated. to end FGM in Kenya across the East African Community. In November 2019, Kenya made a national pledge to end FGM by 2022, eight years ahead of the 2030 global commitment to end this harmful practice.
She also reminded Presidents Kenyatta and Akufo-Addo of their responsibility to hold their peers to account while respecting the aspirations of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
“Laws regarding cross-border FGM in neighboring countries vary, while some countries have no laws at all. In addition, only Guinea-Bissau, Kenya and Uganda address cross-border FGM in their national laws. Ending FGM therefore requires political commitment to drive comprehensive solutions that include education on the rights of women and girls as well as community engagement around changing cultural and social norms, ”Ms. Mohamed added.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Equality Now.
Cross-border FGM involves the movement of women, girls and traditional practitioners across national borders for the purpose of FGM.
In February 2019, the government of Burkina Faso and the African Union launched a continental initiative to end FGM dubbed “”Saleema Initiative. “The Saleema Initiative is designed to galvanize political action to accelerate the elimination of FGM and is led by HE Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, appointed African Union Champion for the Elimination of FGM. female genital mutilation by the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. The initiative is anchored in the African Union Plan of Action 2019-2023. Its main objective is to put an end to the medicalization of FGM and to fight against the cross-border practice of FGM.
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About Equality Now:
Equality Now is an international non-governmental human rights organization that was founded in 1992 to advance the rights of women and girls around the world. The organization holds governments accountable for ending legal inequalities, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, sexual violence and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and ‘marriage’. children ”. While working on various projects, Equality Now champions legal and systemic change by setting important legal precedents and exposing the barriers that hinder women’s access to justice.