May 2016        

The mutilation of girls must be stopped

It is estimated that more than 200 million women and girls in thirty countries have undergone female genital mutilation. In Somalia an astounding 98 per cent of girls are mutilated. But the struggle to end this practice is growing. The present minister for women in Somalia is developing a policy of banning this barbaric method of controlling women.
     Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of human rights. There are no medical benefits to the procedure: in fact it is extremely dangerous; many young women have died because of infection from unsanitary conditions, and the scars can cause complications with menstruation and difficulties with childbirth.
     It is regarded in parts of the Muslim world as a religious practice and in some countries is believed to improve marriageability, but Muslim leaders have pointed out that this practice is simply not rooted in their religion.
     Although legislation alone is not the solution—public education is crucial—this opportunity in Somalia could help save thousands of girls being prepared for mutilation. Once it is outlawed in Somalia the country could become a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.

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