28 Feb 2012 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights

NPWJ in the news

by Stefano Vaccara, L'Indro, 28 Feb 2012

 L’Italia contro le mutilazioni genitali femminili: e intanto l’Onu indaga sulle nostre violenze domestiche... sempre alle Nazioni Unite, in questi giorni l’Italia è ancora protagonista in un’altra battaglia per i diritti umani, questa volta nella campagna di sensibilizzazione dell’opinione pubblica mondiale contro le Mutilazioni genitali femminili (FGM), una pratica atroce che ogni anno sconvolge per sempre la vita di oltre tre milioni di bambine in Africa e in altri paesi. Da anni il nostro Paese si batte per portare avanti e far votare una risoluzione all’Assemblea Generale che la condanni. Ma si deve essere prudenti: alle Nazioni Unite restano alzate le antenne di certi paesi che non vogliono ’interferenze’ su certi affari considerati tradizioni locali. Ma le FGM possono essere considerate ’fatti loro’? Certe statistiche ci dicono che in paesi come l’Egitto, la pratica coinvolge quasi il novanta per cento della popolazione femminile. Chissá se l’Arab Spring aiuterá anche in questo.

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The pain of the undesireable ‘cut’
By Joseph Miti, Daily Monitor, 27 Feb 2012

 One day, Martha Mutikat, a registered midwife in Amudat Hospital, was called to rescue a mother who had a distracted labour at home in Achorchor village in Amudat District.
On reaching there, she was stunned to see a group of women-about 20 in number- trying to conduct delivery.“Some were inserting their fingers in the mother to pull the baby out as others were holding the legs. The mother had fainted because of pain and she was bleeding heavily because they had cut her in an attempt to enlarge the birth canal,” Ms Mutikat recalls. 
The midwife ferried her to the hospital, where she underwent an operation purposely to save her life and the baby. The woman managed to survive, but her baby passed on.

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When pokot men said ‘no’ to female genital mutilation
By Joseph Miti, Daily Monitor, 27 Feb 2012

 On February 6, Dominick Lotolim and a friend bravely stood in front of the crowd flashing a big placard advocating for zero tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Although female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a popular practice in their community –the Pokot, the two men seemed not bothered to talk about it as they displayed a poster reading, “Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/cutting; engage communities to fight FGM/C”. They boldly displayed it on either sided to ensure that everybody at the gathering reads the massage. Suddenly, a group of women joined them dancing and singing songs that denounce the practice, prompting the congregation to cheer.

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Sabiny defy the law to circumcise their daughters
By David Mafabi, Daily Monitor, 27 Feb 2012

 The Sabiny communities are in preparation for the new season to circumcise girls, unaware of the law prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation to which President Museveni appended his signature on March 17, 2000. 
In Bukwo District on February 15, in the villages of Kapses, Sosho, parts of Suam, Kapkorosoy, Kapkuripson and Kabei and Kwanyiny and Benet sub-counties in Kapchorwa District, preparations were in full gear sending fears that the local people might never drop FGM.
Lazaro Chelimo, 68, of Kabei said he did not know about the law prohibiting the culture of the Sabiny, “We have not seen anybody here, nobody has told us to abandon this culture inherited from our ancestors to keep the morality of our girls,” he says.

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Sudan Child Council Pledges to Combat FGM/C
Sudan Vision Daily, 26 Feb 2012

 The National Council for Child Welfare announced it would continue cooperation with national and international partners to take necessary measures to assist girls and women to get rid of the custom of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C).
Between 130-140 million children across the world are subject to this practice which causes psychological and physical harm to girls and women, its statement reads.
The statement said the national strategy for eradication of FGM/C represents a framework capable of promoting efforts to eradicate all forms of female circumcision.

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Initiative raising funds for education in Africa
Journal Review, 24 Feb 2012

 Only weeks before the most promising moment in her work to bring education to girls and young women in isolated African villages, Sister Stella Santana received the worst possible news.
Jessica Okurut — a 13-year-old girl who Sister Santana’s non-profit organization was planning to help — had died in a Ugandan village after being forced to undergo female genital cutting, the very ritual from which they had hoped to save her.
FGC describes the cultural practice of partially or totally removing the external female genitalia. Between 100 million and 140 million girls and women worldwide have received FGC, most of them in 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East. There are more than three million girls at risk of undergoing FGC each year, including thousands in Uganda and Kenya, where Sister Santana’s Indianapolis-based organization works. Despite laws banning FGC in both countries, the practice not only continues, but is also being performed on younger girls.

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Girl, 17 flees home over forced circumcision
Vanguard, 23 Feb 2012

 17-year-old girl, Miss Patricia Youmgbo, has been declared missing by family members after she reportedly fled home to avoid circumcision.
It was learnt that the girl’s decision to run away from home followed the death of her younger sister, Joy after she was forced to undergo circumcision on Jan. 15. An uncle to the missing girl, Mr Jonah Youmgbo, said that Patricia had fled the family home in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa since Feb. 14.

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MPs enact ‘redundant’ Statutes
By Anthony Mayunga, The Citizen, 22 Feb 2012

 Serengeti. Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe complained in the 6th Parliament session over the government’s failure to implement several directives from the House.The lawmaker should be informed that the governments and its organs also do not enforce most of the laws enacted in the very House.
Among the redundant statutes is the 1998 Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act, which, among others, prohibits conducting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to girls below the age of years.
FGM, as a result, continues unabated in areas, which embrace the infamous traditional practice such as Mara Region.  Sarah Mwanga, the director of Afnet, a non-governmental organisation also discouraging rampant domestic violence in the region, points an accusing finger at the government for lacking political will towards ending the practice once and for all.   

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Excision à Ouaga : Le cri du cœur de Voix de femmes
L'Observateur, 22 Feb 2012

Après la commémoration de la Journée internationale de lutte contre l'excision à "Bonheur Ville", secteur 17 de Ouagadougou, l'ONG Voix de femmes a organisé une rencontre de plaidoyer sur les mutilations génitales féminines afin d'attirer l'attention du maire de la capitale, Simon Compaoré, et  celle de ceux des arrondissements sur la persistance de cette pratique.
L'ONG Voix de femmes, en collaboration avec les arrondissements et avec l'appui financier de l'UNICEF, a mis en place 160 noyaux relais dans le cadre de la réalisation des activités de sensibilisation sur les MGF dans la ville de Ouagadougou. Dès la mise en place de ces structures, ses membres ont reçu des formations qui ont permis la réalisation de 384 causeries, 412 porte-à-porte et 480 ciné-débats.

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