Friday, August 3, 2018

First prosecution of an FGM case in Somalia

(UNFPA)- Somalia’s Attorney General, Ahmed Ali Dahir, announced the country’s first ever prosecution against female genital mutilation (FGM).

The historic prosecution followed the death of 10-year-old Deeqa Dahir Nuur who passed away due to severe bleeding after undergoing FGM in July.

At 98%, the prevalence of FGM in Somalia is the highest in the world with most Somali girls subjected to the most severe form of FGM. The historic prosecution is a welcome step towards curbing the practice to ultimately realize the Somali government’s commitment to zero-tolerance of FGM. The widespread tradition is a violation of human rights and leads to life-long health complications and pain for the survivors. Many girls stop going to school after undergoing FGM. As such, going through the experience of FGM creates a long-term vulnerability and drastically reduces girls’ chances for a fulfilling life.

“We are going to prosecute on this straight away. Prosecuting this case will not be delayed. We can do it under the existing penal codes in Somalia,” Mr. Dahir told journalists at the end of a media forum supported by UNFPA and UNICEF.

Nikolai Botev, Somalia Representative of UNFPA, decried the suffering that continue to hound Somali girls and women and stressed that it is one of the contributing factors of the high maternal mortality rate in the country as it relates to death during childbirth.

“FGM is not only a human rights issue, but also a human lives issue. Our commitment to zero tolerance of FGM is a commitment to save lives,” Ms. Botev commented.

Ms. Nuur’s tragic passing had prompted an unprecedented coming together of local, national and international actors in an act of solidarity against the devastating practice. On the 25th of July, over 45 prominent religious leaders, politicians, journalists, civil society actors and representative of international organizations attended a media forum organized by Ifrah Foundation and the Global Media Campaign to End FGM (GMC) with the support of UNFPA and UNICEF. Together, UNFPA and UNICEF lead the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM through operating in 17 African countries as well as supporting regional and global initiatives.