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Inasikitisha kuziona baadhi ya jamii bado hazija elimishwa umuhimu wa hiyo sehemu

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Sonara, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Sonara

    Sonara JF-Expert Member

    Apr 29, 2009
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    Female Genital Mutilation is illegal in Tanzania

    ALLOYCE KOMBA, 12th February 2009 @ 01:31, 7324

    The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as constituting all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other intentional mutilation of the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons.

    According to research findings on the practice of FGM in Tanzania conducted by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) four years ago, it is estimated that about 18% of Tanzanian women undergo FGM. However, the actual extent of the problem is not fully known because of the reluctance of women in some communities to talk about the practice which deprives their rights of equality and life under the veil of customs and traditions.

    FGM is a human rights abuse to women and girl child although it is has been accepted in some sections of our society as part of deep-rooted cultural and traditional values. It is practiced during initiation ceremonies when girls who have reached the age of puberty are mutilated of their genitalia. The practice is believed to be a sign of passage from childhood to adulthood. The girls are taught on the roles of women in the community.

    Other reasons for the practice have been the need to control a woman’s sexual desire, so that she remains faithful to her husband; belief that the female genitalia becomes more hygienic if removed and belief that the clitoris will kill a child coming through the birth canal. There is also a belief that performing FGM on the girl child pleases the ancestors; hence will protect the family from harm. If the girl child is not circumcised, they believe harm (bad omen) will befall the family.

    FGM has physical, psychological and sexual consequences. The post-FGM health issues show permanent physical damage to the girl child. There is continuous bleeding, tetanus infections because of the tools used, loss of woman’s elasticity at the vaginal opening which causes problems in childbirth. Apart from the physical damage to the girl child, there are psychological problems emanating from nightmare of the pains of mutilation.

    The psychological trauma is said (by doctors) to cause women to tighten their legs during delivery and kill their babies because they remember the pain of FGM! Research findings in Mara, Dodoma, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Mtwara regions have disclosed that due to FGM, women do not experience a lot of satisfaction during sexual intercourse and many find it painful because of the resulting non-elasticity on their vaginal opening.

    Due to lack of sexual desire on the part of a mutilated woman, nowadays there are reports of high incidences of marriage difficulties because husbands look elsewhere, usually to uncircumcised women for sexual pleasure. In Tanzania, FGM is illegal. Apart from international conventions ratified, the government passed the Sexual Offences special Provisions Act, 1998 (SOSPA). The law specifically states under section 21 that FGM is illegal.

    Although women over the age of 18 are excluded from the provision of the law, there are calls from human rights activists that it has to be amended because the effect is the same regardless of age. At the international level, FGM is a violation of human rights of women and the girl child.

    The United Nations Sub Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities appointed a special rapporteur in 1994 to study traditional practices affecting the health of women and children. The Rapporteur states in her June 1997 report that: “…we can no longer swathe these traditional practices and female genital mutilations in chaste cloak of social values and standards.

    It is no longer simply a case of health but a human rights and violation of those rights.” Therefore, the international community has taken a very strong stand against FGM. The UN and many other governmental and Non Governmental bodies are actively calling for the eradication of the practice.

    More recently, international human rights documents have begun to specifically identify FGM as a human rights issue. Article 2 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Beijing, 1995), states that violence against women includes female genital mutilation.

    In the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, FGM is recognized as a harmful practice and a violation of the rights of the girl child. In 1994, the UN produced a Recommendation specifically on female circumcision, calling upon governments to take steps to eradicate this harmful practice which is so detrimental to the health of women.

    In 1997, a year before SOSPA was enacted in Tanzania, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) issued a joint statement confirming the universally unacceptable harm caused by FGM and issued an unqualified call for elimination of this practice in all its forms.

    To conclude our discussion, we must note that human rights cut across our cultural and traditional norms or beliefs and are not negotiable. Those practices, like FGM, which deny human rights to parts of the community, cannot be supported under the guise of cultural integrity.

    The writer of the article is a human rights lawyer and a freelance journalist. He is available for questions, opinions or comments through mobile phone numbers 0715 362 544 or 0786 362 544 and e-mail address:
  2. Junius

    Junius JF-Expert Member

    Apr 29, 2009
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    Ukatili huu kwa wanawake unapaswa upigwe vita kama ufisadi.