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Tackling the scourge of FGM

Publish date: 12 February 2018
Issue Number: 761
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Uganda

In 2009, when Rebecca Chelimo was 12, she was forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). ‘I feared abuse and insults from the community. I was told it was a shame to be an uncircumcised girl. I believed no man would marry me if I didn’t cut. So I did it,’ says Chelimo, from her home in Alakas village, in eastern Uganda. The Guardian reports that Uganda is one of the 29 countries in Africa where FGM is still performed, despite it having been outlawed in 2010. Nevertheless, compared with other countries, Uganda has a low prevalence rate: 1.4 % of all Ugandan women aged 15 to 49 have been cut. Yet FGM remains a rite of passage for girls particularly from the Pokot ethnic group, who largely live along Uganda and Kenya’s northern border. According to the UN population fund, UNFPA, prevalence of FGM among Pokot girls and women in Amudat runs at around 95%. Girls as young as 10 are cut.

Full report in The Guardian