UGANDA: FGM Has Turned Women Into Objects

Female genital mutilation (FGM) poses a serious challenge to the Government and politicians, most especially women Members of Parliament, women lawyers and other women organisations in this country.

FGM is a traditional practice where a girl’s external genitalia are partially or wholly cut off to initiate her from childhood to adulthood, according to Sabiny customs. This leads to the question: Does culture in Uganda supersede human rights?

I know some cultures are difficult to uproot, but if they are dangerous to human lives, force must be applied.

The FGM practice has turned women into objects where they are subjected to severe pain, hiding under the cover of culture. It should not be allowed by those in authority.

I get perturbed with images which appeared in The New Vision of January 12. These are the most horrifying images; I equate them to those of LRA-Kony where lips were cut in the name of fighting bad governance. In Sebei, it is in the name of preserving culture.

What hurts is reading that it is a way of survival to mutilators as they earn a living from doing the job. My questions are: Should others benefit through violating human rights? Are these people above the law?

Is the Government taking note that most of these girls are minors, too young to make an informed decision? Their parents have personal interests. Who defends or protects these children?

Once the President mentioned the dangers of FGM, but the law remains inactive on protecting young girls. The Government should put in place by-laws to punish the circumcisers and and later abolish the practice.

The Government intervention should be quick to prevent a rise in the HIV/AIDS cases based on evidence that a single knife is used. By acting, the Government will reduce the number of deaths that occur when excessive bleeding takes place.

I know individuals who matter are well aware of the negative health effects of Female Genital Mutilation. My hope is the law will prevail over this inhuman act.
The writer is a trade unionist Railway Workers’ Union/NOTU

SOURCE: The New Vision

AUTHOR: Agnes Kunihira

URL: Click here

DATE: 14/01/2009

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