Yemen to fight female genital mutilation

الخميس 26 يونيو-حزيران 2008 الساعة 12 مساءً / Mareb press--Nasser Arrabyee—Gulfnews
عدد القراءات 1511

A national plan of action to fight the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Yemen was formulated on Wednesday in a workshop organised by the Unicef office here.

The plan came after months of intensive discussions and consultations by Unicef with concerned bodies in Yemen, said Naseem-Ur-Rahman, head of communication and advocacy at Unicef in Sana'a.

The plan will mainly focus on areas of the country where female genital mutilation is widespread, such as Hodeida, Hudhramout, Aden and Al Mahra.

"In Hodeida, 97.3 per cent of women are subject to female genital mutilation, in Hadhramout it is 96.6 per cent, in Al Mahra 96.5 per cent, Aden 82.2 per cent and in Sana'a it is 45.5 per cent," Naseem-Ur-Rahman told Gulf News.

Altogether 65 participants representing different ministries, academic institutions, NGOs, UN agencies, donors and other development partners, as well as participants from the high risk governorates, gathered to draft the national action plan.

A WHO study (2006) on FGM in six African countries confirmed that deliveries by females who had undergone FGM are significantly more likely to need caesarean sections during childbirth, are at risk of excessive bleeding, prolonged labour and death, the official said.

The practice of FGM is prevalent in countries of the region such as Djibouti, Sudan, Egypt, Somalia and places in West Africa, which together account for 99 per cent of the global total of FGM cases.

Unicef estimates show millions of girls and women are annually subjected to the harmful practice of FGM. It is often done under poor hygienic conditions, leaving women traumatised and posing serious health risks.
"We cannot let this harmful practice take its toll on the health and development of girls and women. We are ready to accelerate the abandonment of FGM in one generation," said Unicef's Yemen representative, Aboudou Karimou Adjibade.

According to Unicef, 70 million girls and women in the Middle East and Africa have been victims of FGM.

In recent years, there have been some major breakthroughs in curbing FGM in Burkina Faso, Sudan, Egypt, Djibouti, and Niger. Abandoning this practice requires action on all fronts, from legislation to social mobilisation and community support, said Adjibade.