Strengths and good practices of anti-FGM laws
Lady justice. Statue of Justice in library. Legal and law background concept

Strengths and good practices of anti-FGM laws

The very existence of the law produces effects that go beyond the mere application of sanctions and the prosecution of those practising FGM. It serves as a deterrent and therefore protects girls at risk of undergoing FGM both from the practice itself and - in some cases - from the stigma associated with not being excised.

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FGM: A deeply embedded social norm
Lady justice. Statue of Justice in library. Legal and law background concept

FGM: A deeply embedded social norm

Maryam Sheikh shared her personal experience to highlight the dilemma faced by parents who want to both protect their daughters from FGC and to ensure their belonging and integration into the community. In addition, the girls themselves may ask to undergo FGM in order to be like other girls in their community.

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Issues & critiques linked to anti-FGM laws
Lady justice. Statue of Justice in library. Legal and law background concept

Issues & critiques linked to anti-FGM laws

Criticisms of legal measures to combat FGM vary depending on the context in the country of implementation and the prevalence rate. Despite criminalization in many African countries, the prevalence of FGM remains high. Legal measures have not yet led to a sufficient decline in the practice in many countries. This is in part because FGM is a deeply rooted, culturally entrenched practice and therefore change is slow. However, critics also argue that laws are not always implemented, that they are not always adequate and that there are several problems with implementation. 28 Too Many estimate that only 2 of the 22 countries with anti-FGM legislation meet all the criteria they consider necessary to ensure satisfactory prevention and protection. (1, 2)

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The issue of Consent in anti-FGM laws
Lady justice. Statue of Justice in library. Legal and law background concept

The issue of Consent in anti-FGM laws

In Africa, many anti-FGM laws imply that if consent is given by a woman or girl, FGM is not a criminal offence (because she has “chosen” to be cut). (1, 2) On the contrary, in most European countries, as well as in Australia, it is the fact that: Whether or not a girl or woman has consented to FGM does not affect the legal status of the act. Nevertheless, in some European countries, consent may reduce the severity of the penalty. (3)

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« REMOVAL OF SOTHIEUTES » IN SENEGAL – A TYPE IV FGM?
Image 2: The Wolof language in Senegal (source: Par SyntaxTerror — Travail personnel, File:Senegal adm location map.svg, Ethnologue maps (Mauritania, Senegal and the Gambia), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78602911)

« REMOVAL OF SOTHIEUTES » IN SENEGAL – A TYPE IV FGM?

This video was produced by Fatou Kébé and GAMS Belgium in October 2019 as part of the CoP FGM discussion on Type IV FGM.

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