24 Mar 2020 - News Digest on FGM and Women's Rights


A profile of female genital mutilation in Kenya
ReliefWeb, 24 Mar 2020

In Kenya, 4 million girls and women have undergone FGM. Overall, 21 per cent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years have been subjected to the practice. Nearly all people in Kenya think FGM should stop, though opposition is most common among ethnic groups that do not practice FGM. The risk of FGM depends on certain background characteristics. Girls and women from rural areas, living in poor households, with less education or who identify as Muslim are at greater risk. The practice is highly concentrated in the North Eastern region and in certain ethnic groups.

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'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans
AlJazeera, 23 Mar 2020

 Nairobi, Kenya - In a "good month", about 100 girls will be brought by their families to Halima Hirsi's* underground clinic in Nairobi to be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). Families come here from all over the world, willing to pay $150 a time for their daughters to be cut. "The Somali diaspora are good people for my business," says Hirsi, 69, the manager of the clinic, who also carries out procedures. Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.

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What I have learnt in my four years of research on FGM
The Standard Kenya, 22 Mar 2020

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Despite a myriad of interventions that have been implemented across Kenya in areas where (FGM/C) persists, community abandonment of the practice has been slow and uneven. I chose to focus on Kisii in this particular piece because it is one of the areas in the country where the practice is still firmly entrenched. In my role as a researcher with the Population Council, there are a few things I learnt. 

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New law to prevent female genital mutilation
Scottish Government, 19 Mar 2020

Women and girls at risk from the illegal and harmful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) will be better protected under new legislation. A bill passed today will allow courts to issue Protection Orders, specifically designed to safeguard those who find themselves under pressure to undergo FGM. Under the new legislation, anyone will be able to apply for a Protection Order if they have concerns that someone is at risk, including the person themselves, a local authority, Police Scotland, the Lord Advocate or another party with the permission of the court. 

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British Somalis and FGM: ‘everybody is a suspect – you are guilty until proven innocent’
The Conversation, 18 Mar 2020

 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), whereby the female genitals are deliberately injured or changed for non-medical reasons, is considered by the UN to be a “global concern”. International organisations often report statistical evidence that 98% of women and girls in Somalia/Somaliland have undergone FGM. Because of this international evidence, girls born to Somali parents living in the UK are considered to be at high risk of experiencing FGM. Yet research shows that attitudes towards FGM change dramatically following migration and therefore girls in the UK are unlikely to be put through this procedure.

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Kazakhstan: Women’s Day Activists Convicted
Human Rights Watch, 18 Mar 2020

A Kazakhstan court has convicted two activists who were prosecuted for peaceful acts of free expression during an International Women’s Day march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kazakh authorities should vacate the convictions. On March 11, 2020, in closed hearings, Almaty’s specialized inter-district administrative court found Irina Pukhnatova, better known as Arina Osinovskaya, and Fariza Ospan guilty of administrative charges of petty hooliganism for the symbolic burning of a funeral wreath in a public place. The act took place during a March 8 women’s rights rally against all forms of violence against women and gender discrimination. 

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