Crack­down on cir­cum­ci­sion

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG: Fe­male cir­cum­ci­sion, known as fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion (FGM), con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem in Tan­za­nia, with more than 800 girls sub­jected to the prac­tice in De­cem­ber alone, de­spite a po­lice crack­down.

Twelve women sus­pected to have car­ried out the ri­tual, which in­volves the par­tial or to­tal re­moval of the ex­ter­nal gen­i­talia, were ar­rested as po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the case con­tinue.

About 140 mil­lion fe­males across Africa, parts of the Mid­dle East and Asia are af­fected by the prac­tice which is deemed cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate for pre­serv­ing pu­rity be­fore mar­riage.

The prac­tice is of­ten car­ried out in un­hy­gienic cir­cum­stances on girls aged 12 to 17, lead­ing to numer­ous deaths.

Up to 7.9 mil­lion girls and women in Tan­za­nia are thought to have un­der­gone FGM, the il­le­gal pro­ce­dure of­ten car­ried out in se­cret ini­ti­a­tion cer­e­monies.

In ru­ral ar­eas 18 per­cent of women have been sub­jected to FGM, in ur­ban ar­eas 7 per­cent, the Ger­man NGO GIZ re­ported

Last week a se­nior of­fi­cial in Tan­za­nia’s Min­istry of Health warned com­mu­ni­ties to stop em­brac­ing the harm­ful tra­di­tion.

“FGM should be made his­tory in Tan­za­nia,” said the min­istry’s per­ma­nent sec­re­tary, Si­haba Nkinga. “As a gov­ern­ment, we can’t af­ford to see such acts continuing to hap­pen. – ANA

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