As one of the activities to mark International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Rachel Shebesh yesterday on 25th participated in a high-level inter-ministerial cross border meeting on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during and post COVID-19 pandemic, a virtual event that was hosted by UBC Uganda.
In her address, Hon. Shebesh called for the implementation and operationalization of FGM legislative frameworks by all the respective East African Countries in order to ensure progress made in ending FGM is not curtailed by the porous borders where FGM prevalence is still very high.
She noted that Kenya has made tremendous progress in the fight against FGM through the enactment and enforcement of the National policy on the eradication of FGM 2019 and implementation of multi-sectoral approach to eliminate FGM.
“Our President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta made a commitment to End FGM in Kenya and beyond its borders by the year 2022 and we are now implementing the presidential directive by engaging the community through the law enforcement officers to abandon FGM,” she added.
Hon. Shebesh called for a speedy action by The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to ensure the commitment to End Cross Border FGM is achieved through legislation in place and all the Countries in the region must have FGM laws in place.
“If we have Ugandans crossing over to Kenya because they find it an easier place to have FGM then it is a big failure on our side as Kenyan government. I want to assure you as a Ministry we shall not rest until we put an End to Cross Border FGM by imposing tough penalties on the perpetrators and those abetting the practice through the border,” said the Chief Administrative Secretary.
She further mentioned the emerging trend being used by the FGM perpetrators where they carry out the cut on infants and also the medicalisation of FGM practice by rogue medical practitioners.
On her part, Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Peace Mutuuzo said many girls are still being cut secretly due to hiding of information and poor reporting at all levels. We call on the media fraternity to give FGM the attention it deserves as it’s one of the worst forms of violence against women and girls as we also remain vigilant on the changing trends on the medicalization of FGM practice.
Hon. Mutuuzo emphasised the need to strengthen collaboration with the neighbouring Countries to ensure timely intervention in the fight against FGM which requires sustained funding is achieved.
UNFPA Deputy Regional Director for the East and Southern Africa Office, Justine Coulson on her presentation on cross border survey commended the East African region for setting the pace to show how cooperation is important to End Cross Border FGM. She said the study survey revealed that most cases relating to child marriages and FGM are interlinked amongst the cross-border communities.
Other participants present was UNFPA Uganda Country Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler, Anti- FGM Board CEO, Bernadette Loloju and Legislator and Human Rights Champion, Hon. Dora Byamukama.
By Nelly Kosgey