Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Uganda at 50; time to Female Genital Mutilation

As I wrote this article, two men behind me were arguing whether restoration on term limits in the Uganda constitution is a violation of human rights of those that voted for it and each other had strong reasons. Anyways, let me share with you the worst of women’s rights violation; I think worse than the video clip I watched on NTV, a police officer “massaging” breasts of a female activist.
Has of us thought how it feels to lose part of your body? I am one person who fears having someone else cut my finger nails. I do it myself January to December. That’s why I found it hard not to write this short article about Female Genital Mutilation. 
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation, and 2 million girls are at risk from the practice each year. The great majority of affected women live in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda facts from Sabiny, Pokot and Tepeth communities who practice are shocking. The Sabiny believe it is an essential rite of passage that will enhance a girl’s chastity and chances of marriage. 
Our East African neighbours are worse off. In Kenya, FGM is believed to one of the major contributors of early maternal mortality and child death. The practice has remained highest among the Somali, Kisii, Kuria ,and Maasai. In Tanzania the most affected areas include Arusha, Kilimamnjaro, Dodoma, Singida, Mara, Morogoro regions, Iringa, Mbeya, and Zanzibar.  In some communities mentioned above, Female Genital Mutilation is regularly being performed on girls as young as seven and eight so as to go unnoticed while other communities cutting baby girls is done secrecy when they are a few days old.
The passing of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill made female genital mutilation in Uganda a criminal offense. In 1998 the Tanzania Government criminalized Female Genital Mutilation, Kenya has similar legislation against Female genital Mutilation. However, many citizens in East Africa remain unaware of the Bills and laws and continue the practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
No health benefits, only harm
FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. In the great majority of cases it involves the excision of the clitoris and the labia minora. At its most extreme, the procedure entails the excision of almost all the external genitalia and the stitching up of the vulva to leave only a tiny opening. Whatever form it takes, Female Genital Mutilation  is a violation of the human rights of girls and women; and it is a grave threat to their health.

Immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, hemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue.
Long-term consequences can include: recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections,  cysts, infertility and an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

Every day , Uganda media writes about people’s wishes they want government to fulfill as Uganda makes 50 years of independence; restoration of term limits, stop police brutality, more accountability and transparency. My wish is one and simple, government needs to take firm action against Female Genital Mutilation.

Ahabwe Mugerwa Michael.
Founder ICOD Action Network

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...