Ghana: Women call for media support in fight against FGM

Ghana: Women call for media support in fight against FGM

About 120 million women and girls worldwide have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). An estimated two million girls are also mutilated each year, Madam Florence Ali, President of the Ghanaian Association of Women Welfare (GAWW), has disclosed.

She as well announced that about 15-30% of women and girls are believed to have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Ghana.

Following this, the GAWW has urged the media to create awareness, and also help them to eradicate harmful traditional practices, particularly FGM, from the system.

The GAWW is a member of the Inter-Africa Committee (IAC) on traditional practices affecting the health of women and children. The IAC, which is a non-governmental organization, is in 28 Africa countries, working together to eliminate harmful traditional practices, and to encourage beneficial ones.

According to GAWW, the media must play a very vital role in their campaign to eliminate this barbaric act, by educating the general public and exposing perpetrators.

Addressing the media, during a day’s training information and communication workshop in Kumasi last Wednesday, Madam Florence Ali, highlighted on health, physical, sexual and psychological implications associated with FGM.

According to her, severe pains, infection of sexually transmitted diseases and tetanus, difficulty in passing urine and menstrual flow, sexual dysfunction, chronic irritability as well as bleeding to death, among others, are some of the complications caused by FGM.

FGM, which constitutes all procedures which involve partial or total removal of the female genital organs, whether for cultural any other non-therapeutic reason, is practiced almost all over the world, but mostly in Africa.

Mr. Stephen Appiagyei, who represented the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) at the workshop, stated that the Criminal Code, which was amended in 2007, Act 69(A) 1 says, whoever carries out female genital mutilation and excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of the labia minora, labia majora and the clitoris of another person commits an offence, and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years and not more than 10 years.

He again said that Section 2 states categorically that whoever participates in or is concerned with a ritual or customary activity that subjects a person to FGM commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years and not more than 10 years.

He also implored the media to educate perpetrators of the act, and urged the general public to report to CHRAJ whenever they see such inhuman practices anywhere.

Mrs. Eunice Maasoduny, Secretary of GAWW and also the Chief Editor at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), delivering her closing remarks, asked the media to partner with the GAWW to stamp out FGM.

She also entreated them to use persuasive messages, rather than the application of force, in educating the general pubic.

Author: Frank Mensah

Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle – 22 August 2008

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