AFRICA/GUINEA BISSAU - Seminar to block female genital mutilation

Wednesday, 5 June 2019 women   human rights  


Bissau (Agenzia Fides) - "Female genital mutilation is not punished and still continues to be practiced", says Benjamim da Silva Sanca, at thehead of the National Committee for the Abandonment of Harmful Traditional Practices for women's and girl's health (CNAPN), on the sidelines of the seminar held in Bissau on 22 and 23 May, on monitoring cases of female genital mutilation. A practice prohibited since 2011, but which continues to be carried out illegally in the Country.
"Our meeting aims to create synergies to reduce cases of female genital mutilation in Guinea Bissau", said Benjamim da Silva Sanca, revealing that the organization has already reported "many cases" to the Judiciary Police, but so far no condemnation has been imposed.
For this reason the 30 participants in the seminar, which included legal experts, were invited to outline strategies to ensure that "cases brought before the court can be concluded judicially until the end", he explains.
On the other hand, Benjamim revealed that people who do not want to give up the practice have decided to adopt a new strategy, subjecting the girls to excision when they are newly born, in an illegal way.
In 2011, Guinea Bissau passed a law that criminalized female genital mutilation. Thanks to the legislation, to the change of mentality, especially among the Muslim community, and to the action carried out by various civil society organizations, the percentage of girls under the age of 15 years subjected to excision was reduced (even though in 2014 it was still 30%).
So far more than 400 communities have announced that they have abandoned this practice. Despite this, the practice continues in different areas, particularly in the eastern area, due to the presence of ethnic groups that practice it most frequently, such as fulas, mandingas, biafadas, saracolés.
Fanado is the Creole name for the secular ritual which includes the partial ablation of their genital organs. (C.J.C /A.B.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/6/2019)