Somaliland: NAFIS Network on Female Genital Cutting

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Somalilandsun – The Network against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS) organized a two day national coordination meeting on FGM. Representatives from government of Somaliland, local and international organizations participated in the meeting and discussed achievements made in the eradication campaign against the practice and challenges.

INTRODUCTION
The Network against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS) organized a two day national coordination meeting on FGM. Representatives from government of Somaliland, local and international organizations participated in the meeting and discussed achievements made in the eradication campaign against the practice and challenges.

Somaliland is one of the countries where Female Genital Mutilation is widely practiced. It is estimated that more than 90% of girls and women undergo the practice. Female genital mutilation (FGM) has no medical benefit and results in negative psychological, social and health complications on women and deprives them of some of their inviolable human rightenshrined in the constitution of Somaliland and international human rights instruments like the right to security of the person and the highest attainable level of reproductive and mental health.

MAJOR CHALLENGES:
FGM is a harmful tradition deeply embedded in the society and its adverse consequences are poorly understood.
Absence of National Legal and Policy frameworks on FGM/C
FGM/C is wrongly believed as a religious obligation and valuable traditional practice that protects chastity, cleanness, and virginity of girls and women.
Drawing on authentically very weak hadiths, some clerics claim that Sunna circumcision, which is in fact a lesser harmful type of the practice, has roots in Islam. Consequently, the practice is continued under the guise of Sunna even in its worst type.
Most of the awareness campaign not reaches the remote areas like rural people.
Women are not adequately aware of their constitutional rights.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The meeting finally issued a clarion call for total eradication of FGM through concerted efforts by the government, religious and community leaders and local and international organizations. The following steps could be of great importance for abandonment of FGM in Somaliland:

FGM should be officially recognized as a national problem depriving girls/women of their inalienable rights to enjoy the highest attainable level of reproductive health, integrity and security of the person enshrined in the constitution of Somaliland, Islamic teaching and international human rights treaties.
The draft national policy, which was developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Labor & Social Affairs, should be approved by the cabinet ministers in order to provide common policy priorities and directions to institutions/stakeholders engaged in FGM eradication campaign.
Enactment of a law criminalizing the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) for bringing perpetrators to justice and general deterrence.
Ministry of Religion & Islamic Affairs should make efforts to issue a religious verdict on FGM in a bid to delink all types of FGM including Sunna from authentic Islamic traditions.

NAFIS NETWORK- PRESS RELEASE

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