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End Female Genital Mutilation

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Back of 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. Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers.

Background of FGM in East Africa

In Kenya, evidence from the Kenya Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS) shows that, in 2008/9, 27% of women had undergone FGM.  The practice has remained highest among the Somali (97%), Kisii (96%), Kuria (96%) and the Maasai (93. In Uganda, the Sabiny, Pokot and Tepeth communities continue to practice  FGM which is deeply rooted in tradition. In Tanzania Female Genital Mutilation is traditionally performed on women. The most affected areas include Arusha, Kilimamnjaro, Dodoma, Singida, Mara and Morogoro regions,other regions include Iringa, Mbeya, and Zanzibar. According to Tanzania health statistics, FGM affects 18 percent of the female population in Tanzania.

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. 

We, the undersigned, call on East Africa Governments to take firm actions to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation because its an extreme form of discrimination against women, violates girls and women's rights to health and has not health benefits. 


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