On the commemoration of the International Day to Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Cutting (FGC), the Network Against FGC in Somaliland (NAFIS) calls on the government of Somaliland to enact legislation that will end the FGC practices.
Article 36(2) of the Constitution of Somaliland requires the government of Somaliland to “legislate for the rights of women to be free from harmful practices which are injurious to their person and dignity.” Similarly, in article 24(2), the constitution further prohibits any act that injures any part of a person’s body. Female Genital Cutting falls under the harmful practices that cause injuries to women and which violates human rights.
There is a 99% FGC prevalence in Somaliland, against the background of lack of FGC policy or law. Lack of national policy and legal protection means there is no clear governmental position, clarity, and direction about the fight against FGC practices.
In the National Development Plan (NDP II), the government of Somaliland endorsed and recognized the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 5.3, which states 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. Passing and implementation of the Anti-FGC Act are two different things. However, it will be a positive step towards meeting Somaliland’s national and global commitments to protect her citizens as mandated by the Constitution.
NAFIS Network, therefore, on behalf of its 20 member organizations across the country and all anti-FGC sectors, reiterates with an emphasis on calling the government to pass the FGC policy and legislation in 2020.
Any further delay will cause more damage to the girls, weaken FGC elimination advocacy, and will make Somaliland lag behind many African and Muslim countries who have stepped up the fight against Female Genital Cutting.. Save our girls! Approve Anti FGC Act!
Khadra Omer Hassan Chairperson of NAFIS Network