Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ugandans ban female circumcision


A girl undergoing circumcision
In some countries FGM is seen as a way to ensure virginity

A community in eastern Uganda has banned the deeply rooted practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), an official has said.

Kapchorwa district chairman Nelson Chelimo said it was "outmoded" and "not useful" for the community's women.

The Sabiny are the only group in Uganda that practises FGM, which involves cutting off a girl's clitoris.

Mr Chelimo said the council had submitted legislation to parliament for the ban to become law nationwide.

"The community decided that it was not useful, that women were not getting anything out of it, so the district council decided to establish an ordinance banning it," Mr Chelimo told AFP news agency.

He said there was a local belief that women who married without circumcision would be stricken by illness, but that this was "really outmoded".

FGM is seen in some countries as a way to ensure virginity and to make a woman marriageable.

In Africa, about three million girls are at risk of FGM each year, according to the UN.

UN agencies have called for a major reduction in the practice by 2015.

They say it leads to bleeding, shock, infections and a higher rate of death for new-born babies.

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