2007: Eritrea bans female circumcision

On 4 April 2007, the Government of Eritrea took a historic step by issuing a Proclamation to abolish female genital mutilation. With this ban, the ongoing Eritrean campaign against FGM enters a new and important phase.
No Peace Without Justice, cooperating closely with local governmental and civil society partners in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere, has worked towards the elimination of FGM since the Conference "International Day Against FGM" which it organized at the European Parliament in 2000. At the conclusion of the 2005 sub-regional Conference in Djibouti, participants unanimously adopted a Declaration stating that FGM is a violation of human rights which finds no religious basis to justify its perpetuation, and recommending the ratification of the African Union's Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
In order to successfully address the issue of FGM, it is important to develop integrated strategies, starting with effective legislation. NPWJ has identified the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa as a key starting point in this process. Though Eritrea has not ratified the Protocol, it has taken the essential and concrete step of passing legislation, a step which in many of the countries which have ratified the Protocol has proven the hardest hurdle to overcome. NPWJ especially welcomes the efforts of Eritrea, as the NPWJ 2007 campaign against FGM have been focused on the countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan.
Thanks to the commitment of the Eritrean authorities, and particularly the work of the National Union of Eritrean Women, the campaign against FGM in Eritrea can now enter a new phase.

Eritrea/FGM: text of the Proclamation nr. 158/2007
Proclamation 158/2007
A Proclamation to Abolish Female Circumcision

Whereas, female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes tham considerable pain and suffering and threatens their lives;
Whereas, this procedure violates women’s basic human rigths by depriving them of their physical and mental integrity, their right to freedom from violence and discrimination, and in the most extreme case, their life;
Whereas, the immediate or long-term harmful consequences of this procedure vary according to the type and custom of the procedure performed;
Whereas, its immediate consequences include severe pain, haemorrhage which can cause fainting or death, ulceration of the genital region and injury to adjacent tissues, urine retention and dangerous infection;
Whereas, its long-term consequences include recurrent infection of the urinary system, permanent infection of the fertility system, complications in childbirth (barrenness) and scar formation such as increasing abscess in the labia minor and, prevention of menstruation;
Whereas, it has been traditionally practised and is prevalent in Eritrea; and
Whereas, the Eritrean Government has decided to abolish this harmful procedure which violates women’s rights;
Now, therefore, it is proclaimed as follows:
Article 1. Short Citation
This proclamation may be cited as “The Female Circumcision Abolition Proclamation No. 158/2007”
Article 2. Definition
In this Proclamation, “female circumcision” means:
(1)   the excision of the prepuce with partial or total excision of the clitoris (clitoridectomy);
(2)   the parial or total excision of the labia minora;
(3)   the partial or total excision of the external genitalia (of the labia minora and the labia majora), including stiching;
(4)   the stiching with thorns, straw, thread or by other means in order to connect the excision of the labia and the cutting of the vagina and the introduction of corrosive substances or herbs into the vagina for the purpose of narrowing it;
(5)   symbolic practices that involve the nicking and pricking of the clitoris to release drops of blood;
(6)   engaging in any other form of female genital mutilation and/or cutting.
Article 3. Prohibion of Female Circumcision
Female Circumcision is hereby abolished.
Article 4. Punishment
(1)   Whosoever performs female circumcision shall be punishable with imprisonment of two to three years and a fine of five to ten thousand (5,000.00 to 10,000.00) Nakfa. If female circumcision causes death, imprisonment shall be from five to ten years.
(2)   Whosoever requests, incites or promotes female circumcision by providing tools or by any other means shall be punishable with imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of three thousand (3,000.00) Nakfa.
(3)   Where the person who performs female circumcision is a member of the medical professions, the penalty shal be aggravated and the court may suspend such an offender from practicing his/her profession for a maximum period of two years.
(4)   Whosoever, knowing that female circumcision is to take place or has taken place, fails, without good cause, to warn or inform, as the case may be, the proper authorities promptly about it, shal be punishable with a fine of up to one thousand (1,000.00) Nakfa.
Article 5. Effective date
This Proclamation shal enter into force as of the date of its publication in the Gazette of Eritrean Laws.
Done at Asmara, this 20th day of March, 2007
Government of Eritrea
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6527619.stm