LEADER: Why Somali leaders should prioritize the combat towards feminine genital mutilation

EDITOR: Somalia could have issues with insecurity and drought. However there appears to be one other silent scourge consuming away at our society often called feminine genital mutilation.

This week a disturbing element emerged from Kismayu, Jubbaland the place 20 women underwent FGM. In keeping with an announcement from the United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Well being Company (UNFPA) in Somalia, the ladies, too younger to consent to their our bodies, have been rounded up and had their genitals minimize off.

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Somalia has been recognized for many years for this undesirable follow. In actual fact, UNFPA figures paint an image the place nearly each girl born right here has been minimize in a single type or one other. It exhibits that 98 p.c of girls and women in Somalia have undergone genital mutilation. FGM could also be a revered historic cultural follow in Somalia. However research after research has proven little profit for the ladies concerned. As an alternative, the risks embody doable bodily incapacity, bleeding that may result in dying, and a life filled with ache, particularly throughout childbirth.

That’s the reason our political leaders should make this a precedence. Somalia stays one of many few nations in our area with no legislation prohibiting FGM. The explanations could also be cultural and politicians could actually be afraid of shedding constituencies who attempt to trample on individuals’s cultural rights. By the identical token, nonetheless, a society that places its ladies in danger within the identify of tradition continues to be rooted in poverty.

We should domesticate an atmosphere the place each women and men are given equal alternatives, tradition however. After all, feminine genital mutilation is an impediment to that promise of equality. Some federal states resembling Puntland had beforehand drafted legal guidelines to ban this follow, however the political will total has not been adequate to take this follow outright.

After all, authorized measures alone could not work, as will be seen in nations like Kenya the place communities deep into the follow adopted new measures, together with concealing the strategies to keep away from being caught. It can take a rigorous consciousness marketing campaign to transform communities and make them see that rites of passage will be safer for each women and men.

That marketing campaign must be led by political leaders and cultural leaders. Earlier this 12 months, UNFPA launched a marketing campaign encouraging dad and mom to make a private pledge to guard their women. The marketing campaign might work if the politicians lead from the entrance. The price of FGM has by no means been produced by the federal government of Somalia. However it may very well be worse than the safety challenges we face as a result of it harms nearly half of the inhabitants.

Incidents like these in Kismayu are a sure indictment of authorities in Jubbaland and Somalia as a complete. However they will hopefully use this to attract up a coverage to make sure no women are minimize once more. A society that enjoys seeing others damage is just rudimentary.

Somalia and its leaders have to be ready to create an atmosphere that’s secure for all. It can require the private conviction of leaders and the collective effort to finish the scourge. The ball is actually within the politicians’ courtroom.

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