Cross Border FGM Practice Disturbs UN Agencies

1442 Views Amudat, Uganda

In short
The procedure, recognized internationally as a human rights violation, comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is practiced by the Sabiny community in Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts, as well as the Tepeth and Pokot in Amudat, Nakapiripirit, and Moroto districts.

United Nations Agencies in Uganda are disturbed over the cross-border movement of persons practicing Female Genital Mutilation-FGM who are now sneaking into Kenya to carry out the practice.

The procedure, recognized internationally as a human rights violation, comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is practiced by the Sabiny community in Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts, as well as the Tepeth and Pokot in Amudat, Nakapiripirit, and Moroto districts.

But the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund - UNICEF and United Nations Population Fund - UNFPA say that efforts to enhance total abandonment of FGM in Uganda have been frustrated by the free movement of FGM surgeons into Kenya where they undertake the procedures to evade arrest in Uganda.

They are aided by the fact that the Pokot community in shares common customs, values and norms with the Kalenjin of Kenya. Amudat District Community Development Officer Freda Amuron says some parents have also been seen sneaking their girls into Kenya and only bring them back to Uganda after healing.
 
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In an interview with URN, Rebecca Kwagala, the head of UNICEF Moroto Zonal Office blamed the trend on laxity on the part of the Kenya government to fight the practice which is said to cause severe bleeding and health issues to girls and women.
Kwagala called for cross border campaigns against FGM.
 
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On his part, Alian Sibenaler, the UNFPA Country Representative says the cross border challenge should not be underrated if Uganda wants to succeed in the total abandonment of FGM. He says his office will liaise with the UNFPA Kenya to map out a strategy to address the problems.
 
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The two agencies have heightened efforts to fight FGM in a bid to have the total abandonment of this practice in Uganda. UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Marianna Garofalo says that this is done through massive sensitization focusing on behavior and attitude change.

Uganda banned the FGM practice in 2009 with a law that imposed harsh penalties for participation in the practice of FGM. The law provides for a 10 year jail sentence for any person convicted of practicing FGM and life imprisonment for incidences that lead to death, disability or result in the victim's infection with HIV/AIDS.

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.