World Vision Ghana
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
Female genital mutilation is also known as female genital cutting. It is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Globally it is approximated that between 100-140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and that more than 3 million girls in Africa are at risk of the practice annually. According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report on FGM/C released in July 2013, Ghana’s prevalence of FGM is 4% among girls and women between 15-49. Though Ghana may be classified as a low prevalence country, the practice of FGM is still prevalent in Upper West, Upper East, Northern and parts of the Volta regions.
Ghana has come far with the fight against FGM and governments need to be commended for their efforts that have contributed massively to the reducing the prevalence. Beginning with a declaration in 1989 by the then Head of State of the Republic of Ghana, Flt. Lt J.J Rawlings against FGM and other harmful traditional practices. In addition, Article 39 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides in part that traditional practices that are injurious to a person’s health and well-being are abolished. Also in 1994, Parliament amended the Criminal Code of 1960 to include FGM/FGC as an offense. This Act 29 of 1960 Section 69A that states:"(1) Whoever excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of the labia minora, labia majora and the clitoris of another person commits an offense and shall be guilty of a second degree felony and liable on conviction to imprisonment of not less than three years. It is worth noting that there have been some arrests and prosecutions since the amendment of the criminal code of 1960. However, a much more concerted efforts are required to ensure that FGM is totally eliminated in Ghana.
As we commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM, World Vision Ghana, a child focus organisation, wishes to add its voice for the total elimination of FGM in Ghana and across the world; so that girls and young women will enjoy their human rights and fullness of life.
As socio-politico-cultural issue, it is only imperative for world leaders and governments all over the globe to be fully committed to the elimination of FGM. In spite of the fact that Ghana has achieved some successes, that is not enough. Government must continue to enforce laws prohibiting FGM, strengthen institutions responsible for child protection and ensure that services are available to the most vulnerable people in most remote communities to help eliminate FGM.
The National House of Chiefs, the Regional houses of chiefs and the various traditional councils have the authority given by the 1992 constitution to reform all traditional practices that may be injurious or harmful and outmoded. As key stakeholders, it is only important that chiefs they take active part in this noble cause to eliminate FGM and making our communities safe for girls to thrive and enjoy good wellbeing.
World Vision Ghana also wants to call on the faith communities, Christians and Muslims to say no to FGM.This is the only way we can accelerate our efforts in protecting our girls from the abuse and violation of rights that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Let us preach against it and educate our congregations to avoid it as well as report any suspected case of FGM for the necessary action to be taken.
The struggle to end FGM should not be left only to government, traditional leaders and the faith communities but should be a collective responsibility of all. Hence, we (World Vision)call on all I/NGOs and CSO to continue with their education and watchdog role by working closely with community structures ,the chiefs,women,children ,youth among other .
For further information, please contact:
Gregory Dery, Advocacy, Child Protection and Gender Coordinator,
World Vision Ghana
+233 24 6054880
Washington Nuworkpor, Hub Communications Manager
World Vision (Ghana & Sierra Leone)
+233 20 8170286