Mogadishu, Thursday 6 February 2020. On International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the Delegation of the European Union to Somalia, in agreement with European Heads of Mission*, reaffirm their commitment to the eradication of FGM and express their support to the Federal Government of Somalia to realise its promise to end FGM by 2030.
Somalia has the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation in the world at 98 per cent of the female population aged 15 to 49, and practices its most severe form. FGM has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women and it interferes with the natural functioning of the body. FGM can cause immediate and long-term health consequences that range from excessive bleeding, urinating problems, severe infections and complications during childbirth, to death.
FGM is an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. Mostly carried out on minors, it constitutes a violation of the rights of the child. The practice also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture, and the right to life when the procedure results in death (WHO, 2019).
In line with Sustainable Development Goal 5, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed presented Somalia's commitment of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation at the Nairobi International Conference on Population and Development in November 2019.
We have expressed our full support to the Somali Government to end this harmful and discriminatory practice. We believe the commitment to end FGM should be integrated into national action plans, policies and programmes. Additionally, the approval of the Anti-FGM Bill and the Sexual Offences Bill should complement these efforts.
In addition to outlawing FGM, awareness should be raised on the danger of this practice poses to young girls and women in order to change attitudes within the Somali society. The whole community needs to rally around the goal to stop FGM through advocacy, awareness and empowerment. We need to identify and break the barriers to change.
* in alphabetical order: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden + Norway and Switzerland.
EU Delegation to Somalia: DELEGATION-SOMALIA-PPI@eeas.europa.eu