As part of global efforts to promote the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) and totally eradicate the heinous practice from society, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) joins the world to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
In 2012, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated 6th February to create awareness on FGM with the aim to amplify and direct efforts on the elimination of this practice. This year, the UN seeks to mobilize the youth to collectively fight against this menace globally; based on the theme “Unleashing Youth Power: One decade of accelerating actions for zero female genital mutilation.”
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as female circumcision or female genital cutting is defined as the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and injury to the female organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic or non-medical reasons (UNICEF). This procedure leaves girls and young women in pain, shock and excessive bleeding (short term), sexual and reproductive complications (long term) among other traumatic experiences. Although thought to be extinct in Ghana with low rates of prevalence, FGM is still being practiced among some communities in Ghana. This is against the laws of Ghana and against human rights.
In the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Article 15 states that “the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable and that no person shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.” Article 26(2) also prohibits all customary practices that “dehumanize or are injurious to the physical and mental wellbeing of a person” and Article 28(3) further states that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
FGM is a traditional practice illegal in many countries including Ghana and violates the United Nations Conventions. In Ghana alone, statistics show that the prevalence of FGM is 3.8% in women aged 15 – 49 with the highest prevalence in the Upper West (41.1%) and Upper East (27.8%); with the other regions below 5% (BMC Women’s Health volume 18, Article number:150:2018). It is believed that many young girls are still suffering from this practice with no help in place.
The NCCE wishes to reiterate in no uncertain terms that FGM MUST END NOW! With a decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Commission as a matter of urgency charges the Media, CSOs, FBOs and all relevant stakeholders to help in the fight against the total elimination of this preposterous, inhumane and evil practice. As stated in SDG 5.3 “all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation must be eliminated by 2030,” and these we must all endeavour to achieve.
End Female Genital Mutilation Now!!