Wednesday July 25, 2018
Somalia's Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir announced on Wednesday the
country's first ever prosecution against female genital mutilation (FGM)
following the death of a 10-year-old girl, an adviser to the government
announcement was made at a conference on FGM attended by officials,
religious leaders and journalists, which was co-hosted in Mogadishu by
the Global Media Campaign to End FGM and the Ifrah Foundation.
Ifrah Ahmed, who advises Somalia on gender issues, said
the attorney general was sending a team of investigators to find out
more about the death of the girl, Deeqa, who suffered severe bleeding
after her mother took her to a traditional cutter.
"We are ready to take it to court," the attorney general was quoted as saying on Twitter by the organisers.
death has prompted campaigners to renew calls for Somalia to pass a law
on FGM, which affects 98 percent of women and girls - the highest rate
in the world, according to United Nations data.
constitution prohibits FGM, but efforts to pass legislation to punish
offenders have been stalled by parliamentarians afraid of losing votes.
Ahmed confirmed news of the attorney general's announcement to the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Mogadishu.
said they had opened the case in Mogadishu and that they would
investigate and deal with the parents," said Ahmed, whose charity, the
Ifrah Foundation, campaigns to end FGM in Somalia.
"He told the conference he would bring the family to justice."
does not have a law against FGM, but campaign group 28 Too Many said
offenders could still be prosecuted under the country's Penal Code,
which makes it a criminal offence to cause hurt to another.
estimated 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM, according to
U.N. data. Many girls in Somalia undergo the most extreme form of the
ancient ritual in which the external genitalia are removed and the
vaginal opening is sewn up.
Deeqa was taken by her mother to a
traditional circumciser on July 14 in central Somalia's Galmudug state
and died in hospital two days later.
Her father was quoted by
international media this week as defending the practice, saying he
believed his daughter was "taken by Allah".
Many people believe
the ritual is an important part of their tradition and a religious
obligation, although it is not mentioned in the Koran.
Organisers said the attorney general had also urged Somalia's religious leaders to use radio and TV to speak out against FGM.