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>> The New Vision


FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION IS THE WORSE FORM OF TORTURE

The New Vision - October 28, 2010

by Dora Byamukama, member of the Ugandan Parliament

Voices of women who have undergone female genital mutilation documented by FEMRITE in a book entitled Beyond the dance, call for support to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Amina who was once a 'surgeon' in Kapchorwa has now turned against the practice and appeals to the Government to assist her to start an income-generating activity to sustain her. To the girls who want to get cut, Amina says: "Do not wriggle your waists counting on me because I am no longer a circumciser. Judith, who is now permanently crippled, narrates how she, her cousin and a friend were circumcised in 1976. The two women died of complications related to circumcision and Judith is afraid she will be next.

Yemo, a woman who was cut, wonders if other women enjoy sex. For her, sex has always been painful. “Since I got married 10 years ago, I have never enjoyed sex. Todate, I still bleed every time my husband and I meet. No matter how many times we have done it, no matter what we do, it never ceases to hurt,” she says.

FGM is prohibited in Uganda. The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2010 was assented to law by the President on March 17, 2010 and the date of commencement of the law was April 9, 2010. The law provides for;

Criminalisation of FGM and other related activities;

Prosecution of persons who practise FMG;

Protection of victims of FGM.

This law is modelled on Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Uganda 1995 which provides for the protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms.

This chapter contains progressive principles and rights that have been used to protect women from sexual gender-based violence. Some of these principles include equality and freedom from discrimination, protection of right to life, respect for human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment.

The law defines FGM to be cutting part or whole of the external female genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons. It creates different types of offences under FMG. These include:

FGM which is punishable on conviction to imprisonment not more than 10 years,

Aggravated FGM are circumstances whereby it is found that a person cuts the whole or part of the external female genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons and death occurs, or the offender is a parent, guardian or person having authority or control over the victim, the victim suffers disability or is infected with HIV/AIDS as a result of FGM or is carried out by a medical practitioner and is punishable on conviction to life imprisonment.

Carrying out FGM on oneself which is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than 10 years.

Attempt to carry out FMG is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than five years.

Procuring, aiding and abetting FGM is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than five years.

Participating in events leading to FGM and these events include counselling, mentoring and giving gifts is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than five years.

Parents, guardians, husband or a person having control over the victim who commits any of the different offences under FGM is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than eight years.

Discrimination of females or persons whose wives, daughters or relatives from participating in any economic, social, political or other activities in the community because of not undergoing FGM is punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not more than five years.

Instances occur whereby victims of FGM consent to being cut because of culture, religion, custom or ritual. The law thus provides that consent of a victim because of religion, culture, custom, ritual and tradition or any other non-therapeutic reason shall not be used as defence to carry out FGM.

Judith, who has been permanently crippled, has lived a very difficult life because she had to cover the medical costs and funds were insufficient. The law considers the costs of the effects of FGM and provides for compensation to the victims.

In addition to the punishment provided, offenders are ordered to pay compensation to victims of FGM and this will be a sum that is enough to cover medical costs and other expenses the victim has incurred.

FGM is the worst form of torture anyone can suffer. It is inhuman and degrading treatment and is in breach of the Constitution which guarantees absolute right to enjoyment of freedom from torture, degrading and inhuman treatment under Article 44.

Effects of FMG range from short-term which include over-bleeding, shock and pain to long-term effects which include death, disability and difficulty in giving birth.

Every even year in the month of July, August and December Pokot and Sabiny girls and women are cut. Let us listen to their voices and cries and use the law to protect them against FGM.

Ignoring their voices or threatening anyone who intends to report an act of FGM within 24 hours of such knowledge to the Police or any other person in authority is punishable on conviction to a fine of sh240,000 or imprisonment for a period not more than six months or both.

 





Altri articoli su:
[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Stop FGM! ] [ Uganda ]

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[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Stop FGM! ] [ Uganda ]

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[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Stop FGM! ] [ Uganda ]


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