BURKINA FASO: Burkina Faso's First Lady Cals For Female Circumcision Ban

African countries must do more work towards banning female genital mutilation, Chantal Compoare, the first lady of Burkina Faso has said. Female genital cutting is carried out for religious or cultural reasons in some parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It involves the partial or complete removal of the female external genitals. It can cause death through haemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth as well as risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma. Worldwide between 100 and 140 million women have been operated on in this way, according to estimates from the World Health Organisation.

"I call on all African states to cooperate on all levels in order to speed up the elimination of the practice of female genital mutilation," Compoare told an international conference on the subject this week. The meeting in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougou, aimed to bring together lawyers, aid organisations, government ministers and community leaders as well women from throughout the region who have dedicated, and sometimes even risked, their lives to ensure that future generations are not subjected to genital cutting.

Burkina Faso’s Chantal Compoare, called on Africa’s other first ladies to join a continent-wide effort to educate women about their rights under international law, and push for legislation that enshrines those rights at a national level. First ladies Suzanne Mubarak of Egypt and Janet Museveni of Uganda who have already spoken publicly about their opposition to the practice. And Emma Bonino, the deputy leader of the Italian Senate, said she wanted the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution condemning the practice, Agence France Presse news service reported.

In Africa alone, an estimated three million girls and women are subjected to the practice each year, according to the content’s Daily Monitor newspaper website. And some 92 million of the continent’s female population are estimated to have suffered. Burkina Faso is among only a handful of African nations to have used effective legislation banning the practice of female genital cutting. The prosecution of practitioners, combined with a nationwide education campaign, has shifted community attitudes, led to a drop in the incidence of the practice and provided an example for similar campaigns in neighbouring countries.The meeting comes at a crucial moment for the growing movement in Africa and around the world towards a global ban. This summer in Mali, thousands of women marched throughout the country demanding their parliament enact legislation against the practice.

SOURCE: SOS Childrens' Villages

AUTHOR: Hayley Jarvis

URL: Click here

DATE: 12/11/2009

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