- At last, the Eritrean government has got the fit to publicly announce the banning of female genital mutilation (FGM), the age-old culture that allowed not only the cutting of clitoris, but also tampering of other areas of the genitalia.
Eritrean Information Ministry has warned that with effect from 31 March, anybody that practises FGM would face the full wrath of the law.
The Ministry described female circumcision as a dangerous process that threatens the health and lives of women. It said the practice also causes significant suffering and pain to women.
Eritrean government added that it would seriously punish anybody that requests, incites or promotes FGM. Besides, war betide those who provide the tools used for the practice or fails to inform the authorities that the practice is taking place or has taken place.
FGM had been a common practice in many parts of Africa and the Middle East, with its defenders saying it prepares the women for adulthood, protect their virginity as well as cleansing them, particularly when they reach the age of puberty.
Activists maintained that the practice most often causes profuse bleeding, trauma and infection to women.
Though most African countries on paper banned the practice, but for political and other reasons, they have not done anything to avoid circumcisors from cutting the genitals of young girls.
Last year, a court in the United States convicted an Ethiopian to serve ten years in prison for circumcising his under age daughter. I
Health experts however argued that the practice seriously undermines the women’s health, which is why so many circumcised women die at labour.
Before the ban was announced, Eritrean women activists launched a large scale campaign against the practice, calling it “barbaric and unhealthy” practice that must be eradicated. They said over 90 percent of Eritrean women have gone through the pains of female circumcision.
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