FGM and Harmful Traditional Practices
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Article 1 and 16 of United Nations convention against torture – FGM.
Speaker 1: Social Vice President of the population reference bureau – researching women’s health and rights. Charlottesville Feldman Jacobs. Pop council (Population council).
- 29 countries now have data.
- 15 countries show no evidence of progress.
- 14 countries show decline.
- 27 in Africa.
- Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria & Sudan have 2/3rd of the women being cut.
- Also remember that national statistics might be low, but there might be a region where it is very high.
- Most girls are now cut under 5 years of age. Why is the age going down? Because of laws – they want their daughters cut earlier.
- Marriage ability.
- Religious identity.
- Family honour.
- Research still needs to find out who the decision makers are, the role of social norms, the role of the economic power – there is some research happening around this at the moment.
- See some further research: ‘Are there states of Change in the practice of Female Genital Cutting?’ Qualitative research findings from Senegal and Gambia. African Journal of Reproductive Health, Vol. 10 No. 2, 2006.
Speaker 2: Regina Adahada
- PAWA – Pan African Women’s association in Norway.
- Creates platform for African women to meet.
- Recognition that communities who have migrated, still take their children back to their home country to complete FGM and return.
- Showed graphic photos of mutilation to women – to help them protect their daughters.
- Then targeted the men.
- Then targeted the religious leaders.
- Then targeted the youth.
Speaker 3: UNFPA UNICEF joint partnership on FGM cutting
- World’s largest program on FGM.
- Started after 2007CSW resolution where first resolution then taken by UN general assembly to eliminate FGM. Then an operational arm and program was developed.
- Advocacy and fundraising at global level.
- Working in 17 countries – receiving technical assistance to address issue.
- $20,000,000 in 17 countries to support governments to address the issue. Need to have national programs with the government at the forefront supported by NGOs working on grass-roots issue. Multisectoral approach. Important to make sure that legislation was passed in those countries. Recognise unintended consequences of legislation – e.g. Younger age of cutting. However positive is that those who want to stop the cutting can and those who are reluctant to change are moving to another stage along the line of change. Using the law as a punishment and an education tool.
- FGM is a social norm – therefore the change needs to be collective, not individual. An individual can’t be in conflict with what they want to do vs the consequences of community ostracisation. They might go to a medical doctor to reduce the harm on the daughter.
- Create a collective process to stop cutting. This is much more than awareness raising – its creating the time and space for the community to go through a change process.
- Process of Behaviour Change with end result being Public declaration to abandon change.
- Kenya project – Micontrap: registered organisation in 2006 working in Kurtis east and west.
Speaker 3: Dr Fatema Khafagy – FGM in the Arab region
- Enhancement of Public Participation – NGO working with countries in Arab region.
- Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria.
- Copy of study obtained and with ISJC.
- In Iraq and Syria: ISIS have ordered that all girls between 11 and 46 are cut. This religious fatwa will potentially affect 4 million girls and women.
- Arab countries, like Africa, have a cutting season. The girls are celebrated and painting hands with Henna.
- In 2015 Egypt launched a national strategy against FGM.
- In Sudan many states have managed to pass laws against FGM. Supported by a nationwide ‘Saleema’ Initiative.
- Kurdistan – the government offered communities education facilities if they collectively agreed to stop FGM.
Speaker 4: Publisher on books of FGM
- Photos of book covers.
- PowerPoint to be sent.
- Can receive manuscripts for consideration.