Lifestyle June 08, 2016 at 06:00 am

Activist Warns Sky News against Showing Girl Undergoing FGM

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

Fredrick Ngugi June 08, 2016 at 06:00 am

June 08, 2016 at 06:00 am | Lifestyle

A young Somali girl undergoing FGM. BBC

The UK’s Sky News is currently under fire by human rights crusaders for its alleged plan to air a documentary in which a young girl is shown undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) in Somalia, where the act is said to be widespread.

Activist Leyla Hussein, who spearheads an anti-FGM campaign dubbed Daughters of Eve, has urged the Sky News to remove a segment of the anticipated film showing the face of the young Somali girl, aged “six or seven years,” as she undergoes the painful mutilation.

According to The Independent, Ms. Hussein had been invited by Sky News to talk about the prevalence of FGM in Somalia, but she requested to view the footage beforehand.

“You can see her face. People are watching. The film crew are filming. No one intervenes. When I was cut, I remember that most of all, no one intervened,” Ms. Hussein told The Independent.

In a rejoinder, Sky News has confirmed that the girl will not be identified and her face won’t be shown in the final edit of the footage, according to The Guardian.

Female Genital Mutilation in Africa

The World Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation as any procedure that involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Unfortunately, numerous African communities still practice FGM as part of their tradition despite its many negative effects.

FGM

Some of the tools used for Female Genital Mutilation. gtzkenyahealth.com

At least 200 million women around the world have undergone the procedure, according to UNICEF. It is also estimated that about 98 percent of women in Somalia aged between 15 and 49 have been cut.

In 2012, the United Nations Assembly passed a decree that criminalized FGM and unanimously agreed to eliminate the cruel act throughout the world.

Although FGM is practiced in other parts of the world like Asia and the Middle East, UNICEF says the act is more widespread in Africa, with countries like Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti and Egypt taking the lead.

Efforts to End FGM

With the ongoing campaign against Female Genital Mutilation, many governments in Africa and beyond have taken the initiative to come up with legislation that can help end the vice.

In 2012, the Kenyan parliament passed the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation ACT No. 32 of 2011, which criminalizes all forms of FGM and safeguards women against mental and physical violence associated with Female Genital Mutilation.

African governments also use educational and outreach programs to create awareness around FGM. Some have resorted to civil and administrative regulations that prevent the practice as well.

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