PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL PROTECTION TO MARK THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM).
February 6, 2020 5:09 pm
ALL MEDIA HOUSES
Today 6th February, marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The day is marked globally as part of the UN’s efforts aimed at amplifying and directing the efforts to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation. The theme for this year is: Unleashing Youth Power.
FGM refers to a practice that involves the partial or total removal or alteration of the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
It results in deep rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against females.
It violates the right to health, physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruelty and inhuman treatment and the right to live where it results in death due to excessive bleeding. Thus, since 2003, the United Nations introduced The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation as an annual awareness day.
Female Genital Mutilation is an ancient culture which has been practiced across Africa and Asia for decades.
In Ghana, some parts of the Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo and the Volta Regions including the Zongo Communities in certain urban centers of the country are notable places where the practice still goes on. It is clear that the adoption of this cultural practice of FGM has not served any good purpose in our country. Culture that violates the rights of the people is not worth practicing.
Studies show that an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world today have undergone some form of FGM and two million girls are at risk from the practice each year. Studies also indicate that in Ghana, the prevalence in the 1990s was as high as 77% but reduced drastically due to the advocacy and sensitization that has gone on. This reduction could also be attributed to the passing of the law against the practice in the 90’s. It is therefore regrettable and disturbing to note that, the practice still goes on under cover.
The current national prevalence is around four percent (4%) but regional prevalence, especially in some parts of Northern, Upper East and West Regions could be higher due to cross border practice of FGM. Studies say that the practice affects maternal health and puts women and girls at risk of developing complications.
Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection joins the international community to condemn the practice of female genital mutilation in Ghana. The ministry calls on Development Partners, Lawmakers, Religious Leaders, Traditional Rulers, Civil Society, Teachers the Media, the Youth, Community- Based Organizations, to fight and end this gruesome act which has no health benefit to women and girls. The ministry also calls on the law enforcement agencies to enforce the law on FGM. The ministry respects culture but will however not support a culture that has the tendency to destroy its people.
The ministry again urges Ghanaians to appreciate that, ending FGM in Ghana is a shared responsibility and the fight to eradicate it must be addressed through a national crusade from the national to the community levels. Eradicating FGM is a key target under the Sustainable Development Goal 5, hence the need to consolidate the gains made in Ghana and intensify the fight.
The law against FGM, ACT 741 of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana entitled Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2007, provides for imprisonment and/or fines for both the circumciser and those who request, incite or promote excision by providing money, goods or moral support.
The person who commits this offense is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years and not more than 10 years.
The 1992 constitution of Ghana, Article 15 states that ‘ the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable’ and that no person shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his or her dignity and worth as a human being. Article 26 (2) prohibits all customary practices that dehumanize or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person’ and Article 28 (3) further states that no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Particularly relevant to FGM, Article 39 (2) obliges the state to ensure that traditional practices which are injurious to the health and well-being of the person are abolished.
As we mark this day, let us remind ourselves that FGM is not be tolerated for any reason, at any time, or place.
SAY NO TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) IN GHANAN NOW!!!.
Signed by Dr. Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director(MoGCSP)
6th February, 2020.