Legal framework in Africa 2021

Les MGF sont une question complexe profondément ancrée dans les sociétés où elles sont pratiquées. Bien que la criminalisation de la pratique soit généralement reconnue comme une étape importante de la stratégie mondiale en vue de l’abandon des MGF, la plupart des expert.e.s conviendraient que les lois anti-MGF ne peuvent à elles seules résoudre le problème. L’absence d’une diminution de la prévalence des MGF dans de nombreuses communautés où des lois existent et des critiques croissantes contre la manière dont les lois sont appliquées soulève la question : Le changement social peut-il être légiféré?

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Religion as a strategy to tackle FGM
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Religion as a strategy to tackle FGM

It is essential to deconstruct these religious beliefs as they are one of the main reasons why communities perpetuate the practice of female genital mutilation (Mahmoodi O., 2016). To this end, the position taken by religious figures seems to be an essential step towards disarticulating the false links between FGM and religious obligation, as in the case of the Muslim scholars of Al-Azhar University in Egypt, the Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomar, Ayatollah Fadlallah, Muhammed Salim AAwwa, Secretary General of the International Federation of Islamic Scholars, etc...

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FGM perceived as a religious practice by the practicing communities
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FGM perceived as a religious practice by the practicing communities

It is important to look at the link between religion and FGM because while several reasons are given by communities practicing FGM, such as respect for tradition, control of female sexuality, eligibility for marriage, religion is often one of the first answers given. 

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FGM is not a Muslim practice
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FGM is not a Muslim practice

Female genital mutilation is sometimes wrongly considered a "Muslim practice", including by the general public in non-practicing communities. Nevertheless, FGM, although practised by some Muslim communities, is also common in Christian or animist communities.

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FGM is not required by the founding doctrines of the three great monotheist religions
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FGM is not required by the founding doctrines of the three great monotheist religions

FGM is practiced in various regions of the world: Africa (e.g. Egypt, Mali, Guinea) but also Asia (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia), the Middle East (e.g. Iraq, Iran), Latin America (Colombia, Peru), Europe. They are practiced by various communities, religious or not.

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Plastic surgery and social pressure

There was widespread discussion amongst our members on the issue of genital plastic surgery which is freely available to adult women and which is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America. While some see it in an entirely different light from female genital mutilation, others argue that social pressure and the desire to conform to social norms of beauty affect the free and informed consent of women who undergo it. 

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The Guideline for Conducting an Alternative Rite of Passage

In July 2018 the Anti-FGM Board and the Kenyan ministry of public service, youth and gender affairs published a Guideline for Conducting an Alternative Rite of Passage. It aims to harmonize and improve the ARP implemented in Kenya by defining the procedure and offering some key advice to ensure the ARP’s success.

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