By Goth Mohamed Goth

The Ministry of Employment, Social and Family Affairs organized a well-attended ceremony commemorating the International Day to Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Cutting (FGC),  held at the Mansoor Hotel in Hargeisa.

The commemorations brought together women groups, local and international non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, government officials, politicians, and religious leaders.

Ms. Luul Aden Geedi, the director of family affairs department in the Ministry of Employment , Social and Family Affairs has already drafted the national policy for the elimination of all harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting.”

“Therefore, the government is under international and national obligations to protect girls from FGC. “We call on the government of Somaliland to enact legislation that will end the FGC practices,” she said.

Sheik Khalil Ahmed , the Minister of Religious affairs and Endowment speaking during the event urged Somalilanders to shun the harmful practice since there was no religious basis for this. FGM/C is recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It is an act of violence that harms women and girls in many ways, limiting their potential for full development, and a major obstacle to the achievement of gender equality.

He added that FGM is not a religious obligation or requirement and it was the work of the devil to alter the human body.

Hon Hinda Jama Hirsi Gani, the Minister of Employment, Social and Family Affairs speaking during the ceremony said, “The government of Somaliland is committed to passing a law banning female genital mutilation but the same time I would like to reiterate that it is the responsibility of the nation and every citizen and organization to fight the practice.

The Minister added, “The Ministry of Employment, Social and Family Affairs welcomes anyone who is interested in legislative reform to support the abandonment of FGM/C stems from a recognition that institutional frameworks play an important role in promoting and supporting social change, human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

“The ministry is committed to ensuring a legal framework is in place that supports the abandonment of FGM/C and the fulfillment of women’s and children’s rights in a sustainable manner is an important step towards ending the practice. “We are very optimistic that this policy will get the approval of the cabinet,” she said.

She added that the Ministry of Employment, Social and Family Affairs will continue to work in partnership with other organizations have been implementing strategic interventions directed towards FGM/C abandonment in the country.

Among the dignitaries speaking at the event were the minister of sports and youth affairs, health, education, religion and representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations.