Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Female genital mutilation still rife in Africa

18 June 2014, 11:57

Abuja - Female genital mutilation, the excision of the clitoris practiced widely in African and many Muslim countries, is a means for men to maintain control of women and must be eradicated, according to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.

Even if a current global campaign against the practice – dubbed FGM – continued at its current level of success, it would be 60 years until the total of well over 125 million women and girls now affected was reduced by half, she said.

"FGM is a form of gender-based discrimination and violence. It is a violation of the right (of women and girls) to physical and mental integrity," Pillay told a gathering on the issue at the world body's Human Rights Council.

"As many as 30 million girls are at risk of undergoing it over the next decade, if current trends persist."

The traditional practice, often justified as a means of suppressing a woman's sexual desire and so preventing "immoral" behavior, "represents a way to exercise control over women", said the former South African High Court judge.

She was backed at the session by Chantal Campaore, wife of President Blaise Campaore of the West African republic of Burkina Faso, who has been pushing efforts on the continent to persuade communities to abandon it.

Tradition and religion

The driving factors behind FGM, Mme Campaore said, were "tradition, customs and religion". Families – in which underage children are the prime victims – went along with it because they feared exclusion if they did not.

The UN children's agency UNICEF says the 125 million plus figure of girls and women applies to the 29 countries with the highest prevalence rates. Many are in precarious health as a result of the operation.

As of last year, according to UNICEF, 98 percent of women and girls in Somalia were victims of FGM – often carried out by other female family members with no medical training. In Guinea the figure was 96 percent and in Egypt 91 percent.

It is also believed to be practiced fairly widely in some immigrant communities in Europe, where many governments have moved to make it a criminal offence.

Campaigners say that the practice is often promoted by local Islamic preachers, although senior Muslim clerics in many countries, including Egypt, have denounced it as against the ethos of the religion.

An Egyptian delegate, speaking for member states of the Arab League, told the UN session Arab states were all committed to ending FGM through health drives and by making it a crime. "It has nothing to do with religion," he declared.

- Health24

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...