Somalia’s Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir announced the country’s first ever prosecution in July 2018 against female genital mutilation (FGM) following the death of a 10-year-old girl, a government adviser said…[T]he girl, Deeqa, who suffered severe bleeding after her mother took her to a traditional cutter. …Deeqa’s death prompted campaigners to renew calls for Somalia to pass a law on FGM, which affects 98% of women in the east African country – the highest rate in the world, according to UN data.
Somalia’s constitution prohibits FGM, but efforts to pass legislation to punish offenders have been stalled by parliamentarians afraid of losing votes.Global campaigners against FGM, which affects around 200 million girls and women worldwide, welcomed the news. Many girls in Somalia undergo the most extreme form of the ancient ritual in which external genitalia are removed and the vaginal opening is sewn up.
Deeqa was taken by her mother to a traditional circumciser on July 14, 2018 in central Somalia’s Galmudug state and died in hospital two days later. Her father was quoted by international media as defending the practice, saying he believed his daughter was “taken by Allah”.
Excepts from First prosecution for female genital mutilation in Somalia, Reuters, July 26, 2018
Of all the ways in which women and girls are made to suffer because of their sex, infibulation is perhaps the worst. Each year 400,000 are subjected to this atrocity in which the external genitals are excised and the vagina stitched almost completely closed. More than 4m undergo some form of female genital mutilation (FGM) each year—a range of practices, from infibulation at one end, through incisions or pricks that hurt but cause no lasting damage, to the merely symbolic, such as rubbing the genitals with herbs.
For three decades campaigners, led by the UN, have tried to end all FGM. They have pushed for bans and prosecutions; trained medical practitioners to refuse requests for it; lobbied religious leaders to oppose it (though FGM is not mentioned in the Koran, many Muslims regard it as part of their faith); and tried to persuade parents of its dangers. They have had some success. Between 1985 and 2015 the countries where FGM is most common saw the share of girls cut fall from 51% to 37%.
There are good arguments for a blanket ban on FGM. One is that medical procedures with no possible benefit are unethical—especially when inflicted without consent, on children. Another is revulsion at FGM’s misogynist roots: the motive is generally to cleanse the girl of some supposed impurity and tame her sexual desires, thus ensuring her virginity until marriage and fidelity thereafter. But progress has been slow, especially in the African countries where the worst forms are common. On current trends, most girls in Somalia and Djibouti will see their own daughters mutilated, too.
Excerpt from , Female genital mutilation: An agonising choice, Economist, June 18, 2016