The UN on Friday said the approval of the FGM Zero Tolerance Bill by Somalia’s northeastern region of Puntland is “a great milestone.”
“This means girls will be safe from the brutal cut that undermines the health of women and girls,” said Anders Thomsen, a UNFPA representative in Somalia.
The UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide supported consultations with religious leaders, parliamentarians, and communities in drafting the legislation.
“FGM is a harmful practice that scars girls and women and endangers their health for life, depriving them of their rights and denying them the chance to reach their full potential,” he said in a statement after Puntland banned all female circumcision, becoming the first state in the horn of African nation to do so.
According to the bill, people who practice the FGM including midwives, hospitals as well as individuals will face punishment.
Somalia has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world. According to the latest Somali Health and Demographic Survey, 99% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to this extremely harmful and unacceptable practice.
Globally, at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone FGM, according to the UN. In 2021 alone, there are 4.16 million girls around the world who are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation.
In 2012, the UN General Assembly designated Feb. 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation to amplify and direct the efforts on the elimination of this practice.
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