FGM

The Gambia: Government Censorship of the Campaign to Stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1997 Jul 1

On 17 May 1997, the Gambia Telecommunications (GAMTEL) Director of Broadcasting Services announced a new policy on media treatment of the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM) as follows:

What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Managing Director of GAMTEL. Note the harmful effects of FGM and urge him to rescind the directive barring use of Radio Gambia and Gambia Television to combat the practice. Please also write to the President of The Gambia. Urge him to intervene and take immediate action to ensure that broadcast media can be used to inform the public about the harmful effects of FGM and to promote its eradication. Note that The Gambia has an obligation under international law to take measures to eliminate harmful practices against children. Recall the recent WHO initiative against FGM and note the inconsistency of the GAMTEL policy with this important collective African effort, in which The Gambia played a leading role. Appeals can also be addressed to the Gambian Ambassador to your country.

President Yaya A.J.J. Jammeh
President of the Republic of The Gambia
Banjul, The Gambia
Telex: 2240

Mr. Bakary Njie
Managing Director of GAMTEL
Banjul, The Gambia
Fax: 220-226699

United States: Political Asylum for Fear of Female Genital Mutilation—The Kasinga Case

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1996 Jun 1

On 13 June 1996, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) ordered that Fauziya Kasinga be granted political asylum. The majority decision, written by Paul W. Schmidt, Chairman of the BIA, made the following seven major findings in the case:

What You Can Do: 

Write to Board of Immigration Appeals Chairman Paul W. Schmidt, thanking him for his decision, which finally brings justice to Fauziya Kasinga and which recognizes that FGM does constitute persecution.

Paul W. Schmidt, Chairman
U.S. Department of Justice
Board of Immigration Appeals
5107 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
USA

United States: Female Genital Mutilation and Political Asylum—The Case of Fauziya Kasinga

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1996 Apr 1

On 24 April 1996 Fauziya Kasinga was released on parole pending her appeal. Please continue to call on U.S. authorities to grant her political asylum.

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Room 4400
Tenth and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530
Fax: 202-514-4371

The Honorable Doris Meissner
Commissioner
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Room 7100
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20536
Fax: 202-514-3296

United States: Female Genital Mutilation and Political Asylum—The Case of Fauziya Kasinga

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1996 Apr 1

Fauziya Kasinga has been in detention since 17 December 1994, the day she arrived in the United States seeking political asylum. She was seventeen years old, and had fled her home country of Togo immediately following a forced marriage to a 45-year-old man with three other wives. Although Fauziya refused to sign the marriage certificate, she was declared wed and confined to a storage room to await the arrival of a circumciser who would subject her to female genital mutilation (FGM).

What You Can Do: 

Write to Attorney General Janet Reno and to INS Commissioner Doris Meissner, calling for the release of Fauziya Kasinga and for reissuance of the May 1995 guidelines by the INS as regulations that would be binding both on asylum officers and immigration judges. Recall that at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in September 1995, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, on behalf of the United States, affirmed that "it is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation."

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General
Department of Justice
Room 4400
Tenth and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530
Fax: 202-514-4371

The Honorable Doris Meissner
Commissioner
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Room 7100
425 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20536
Fax: 202-514-3296

Egypt: Highest Court Upholds Minister's Ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1998 Feb 1

On 28 December 1997, the highest Egyptian administrative court overturned a lower court ruling which had struck down a government directive banning the practice by health workers of female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision (FC). The ban was instituted in July 1996 by Health Minister Ismail Sallam and subsequently challenged in court by a group of plaintiffs including several doctors and Islamist leaders who advocate the practice of FGM.

What You Can Do: 

No further action is necessary, but you may wish to send a letter of congratulations to the Minister of Health on the court decision upholding his ban on FGM. Thank him for his efforts to stop the practice of FGM in Egypt and urge him to continue his collaboration with the FGM Task Force, to ensure enforcement of the ban and promotion of public awareness of the harmful effects of FGM. Letters should be addressed to:

His Excellency Dr. Ismail Sallam
Minister of Health
Magles El Shaab Street
Cairo, Egypt

Egypt: Court Asserts Doctors' Right to Perform Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1997 Jul 1

On 24 June 1997, an Egyptian court overturned a government directive banning the practice by health workers of female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision. The ban was instituted in July 1996 by Health Minister Ismail Sallam.

What You Can Do: 

Contact doctors and medical associations in your community and inform them of the recent court decision in Egypt asserting a doctor's right to perform FGM. Ask them to adopt and send organizational resolutions and to write letters to the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, the professional association in Egypt which licenses doctors to practice medicine. Call on the Egyptian Medical Syndicate to clarify publicly and to all doctors in Egypt that professional ethics prohibit the performance of FGM as a dangerous practice which serves no medical purpose and causes great harm. Cite the World Health Organization's opposition to FGM as well as the Hippocratic Oath which requires that doctors do no harm. Please also write to the Minister of Health and express support for his timely action to appeal the court decision and to ensure that FGM is not performed in hospitals pending the appeal. Letters should be addressed to:

Professor Hamdey El-Sayed, President
Egyptian Medical Syndicate (Dar Al Hekma)
Kaser Al Eini Street
Cairo, Egypt
Fax: 202-356-2751/ Tel: 202-354-0738

His Excellency Dr. Ismail Sallam
Minister of Health
Magles El Shaab Street
Cairo, Egypt

Egypt: Government Revokes Directive that Medicalized Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Update: 
UPDATE
Date: 
1995 Dec 1

On 17 October 1995, the Egyptian Minister of Health revoked the directive he had issued in October 1994 which medicalized female genital mutilation (FGM). The 1994 directive had permitted hospitals in Egypt to perform the operation for a fee of LE10 (approximately US $3). In revoking the directive, the Minister of Health, Ali Abdel Fattah, made reference to the physical and psychological harm caused by FGM.

What You Can Do: 

Write to the Minister of Health welcoming his revocation of the October 1994 decree which had medicalized female genital mutilation. Express concern over the harmful physical and psychological consequences of FGM in Egypt and urge him to honor the pledge he made at the UN ICPD conference to ban female genital mutilation and to take legal action against those who perform it. Thank him for responding to previous letters, and encourage him to continue the dialogue on this important issue and to support non-governmental organizations in Egypt working for the eradication of FGM. Letters should be addressed to:

His Excellency Dr. Ali Abdel Fattah
Minister of Health
Ministry of Health
Magles El Shaab Street
Cairo, Egypt

Egypt: Government Efforts to Medicalize Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1995 Mar 1

On 29 October 1994, the Egyptian Minister of Health issued a decree which seeks to medicalize female genital mutilation (FGM) by designating a number of selected hospitals to perform the operation for a fee of LE10 (approximately US $3). The decree represents a turnaround on the part of the Health Minister, Ali Abdel Fatah, who publicly stated at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1994, that the practice of FGM should be banned and that those who perform it should be punished.

What You Can Do: 

Support the efforts of women's organizations in Egypt to spread awareness and to work towards the complete eradication of female genital mutilation. Send letters and petitions appealing for the revocation of the Ministerial decree of 29 October 1994, which condones and medicalizes female genital mutilation in Egypt. Express concern over the harmful physical and psychological consequences of female genital mutilation on young girls in Egypt and note the statement made by the Grand Mufti of Egypt that one should defer to the opinion of doctors. Urge government authorities to honor the pledge made by the Minister of Health at the International Conference on Population and Development to ban female genital mutilation and to take legal action against those who perform it. Appeals should be addressed to the Egyptian Ambassador to your country, and to:

His Excellency Muhammed Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Abedine Palace
Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN

His Excellency Dr. Ali Abdel Fatah
Minister of Health
Ministry of Health
Magles El Shaab Street
Cairo, Egypt

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): UNICEF's failure to fund efforts to stop FGM

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
1993 Nov 1

An estimated 100 million girls and women around the world have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM takes different forms in different countries: the cutting of the hood of the clitoris (circumcision), the removal of the entire clitoris (excision), or in its most extreme form the removal of all external genitalia and the stitching together of the two sides of the vulva, leaving only a very small vaginal opening (infibulation).

What You Can Do: 

Join the struggle against FGM and support its front line of grassroots activists by writing and sending petitions to Mr. James Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF, at 3 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA. Express concern over the lack of UNICEF resources for a practice which so severely injures, and in many cases, kills, so many children around the world. Urge Mr. Grant to allocate and earmark UNICEF funds for the work of grassroots activists fighting to eradicate FGM in their countries.

"However much a little girl may want to be excised because all other girls of her own age have been done, or because she has been persuaded that it is the right thing to have done, this does not mean that she doesn't suffer excruciating pain. Similarly, she feels that violence is being done to her body; she is conscious of suffering a physical injury, of being maimed in some way. Whatever other people may claim, what she experiences is a mutilation, even if she has heard it repeated time and time again that her clitoris is a masculine element which has no place in her body and so must be removed." (Awa Thiam, Black Sisters Speak Out)

This poem on female genital mutliation (FGM) won first prize in a poetry competition for female poets of Benadir. It and the statement above were provided to Equality Now by the Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development (FORWARD), an international human rights organization based in London and working for the eradication of FGM.

Dahabo Elmi Muse
Pharaoh, who was cursed by God
Who did not hear the preaching of Moses
Who was led astray from the good word of Torah
Hell was his reward!
Drowning was his fate!
The style of their circumcision,
butchering, bleeding, veins dripping with blood!
Cutting, sewing and tailoring the flesh!
This loathsome act never been cited by Prophet nor
acknowledged by the Hadith!
Non-existing in Abu Hureyra.
No Muslim ever preached it!
Past or present the Koran never preached
it (Pharaonic circumcision)
And if I may think of my wedding night,
awaiting me was caresses, sweet,
kisses, hugging and love.
No, never!
Awaiting me was pain, suffering and sadness
In my wedding bed there I lie groaning,
curling like a wounded animal, victim of feminine pain.
At dawn awaits me ridicule.
My mother announces,
yes she is a virgin.
When fear gets hold of me
When anger seizes my body
When hate becomes my company or companion
I get feminine advice, it is only feminine pain they say,
and feminine pain perishes like all feminine things!
The journey continues, or the struggle continues as modern historians say!
As the good tie of marriage matures
As I submit and sorrow subsides
My belly becomes like a balloon
A glimpse of happiness appears
A hope, a new baby, a new life!
Ah, a new life endangers my life
A baby's birth is death and destruction for me!
It is what my grandmother called the three feminine sorrows
and if I may recall my grandmother said,
the day of circumcision, the wedding night and the birth
of a baby are the three feminine sorrows.
As the birth burst: And I cry for help the battered flesh tears.
No mercy, push they say! It is only feminine pain and feminine pain perishes.
When the spouse decides to break the good tie,
when he concludes divorce and desertion,
I retire with my wounds.
And now hear my appeal!
Appeal for dreams broken
Appeal for my right to live as a whole
Appeal to you and all peace-loving people.
Protect, support, give a hand
to innocent little girls, who do no harm, trusting and
obedient to their parents, elders
and all they know are only smiles.
Initiate them to the world of love not to the world of feminine sorrow!

SWDO-AIDOS

 

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