Activists raise alarm over rising cases of child FGM

Friday, September 6th, 2019 19:43 |

Anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) activists have raised the alarm over an emerging trend, in which the vice is perpetrated against children.

The activists drawn from East African countries spoke during a regional anti-FGM conference Friday. They said perpetrators were now circumcising children who cannot defend themselves or speak out. 

“We urge everyone including governments to be on the look-out as our young children are undergoing the cut in the early stages of life,” said Taita Taveta county Gender director, adding that the county leads in cases of children, who undergo the cut while young.

Sarah Mwage, an activist from Tanzania, said the trend was rising in her country with Dodoma and Sigida regions being the most affected.

“Despite efforts to eradicate the vice in our country, the practice is still prevalent in rural areas,” she said.

The activists raised concern over an emerging trend of FGM tourism. They said many East African families that live abroad travel back home during schools holidays for their children to undergo the cut.

“We can’t hide it anymore; our community is still cutting girls. They bring their children during the holidays to have them cut,” said Yussuf Abdi from Action Aid.

Statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) show that 25 per cent of the 200 million people who have undergone FGM come from East and Horn of Africa countries.

The activists said FGM cases have continued to rise despite the East Africa Legislative Assembly having signed a commitment to end FGM in 2016.

The activists urged governments and other stakeholders to increase funding for anti-FGM crusades.

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