US Ambassador Michael McCarthy has praised the government for its efforts in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM), but emphasized the importance of passing proposed anti-FGM legislation in the country.
FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or another injury to the body.
However, the practice of FGM has been in the rural parts of the country for ages, but traditional leaders have finally decided to abandon the practice, probably for the sake of the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Jaha Dukure, after being convinced of documented evidence of its long-term physical and psychological impacts.
The closure of FGM schools comes after traditional leaders reached an agreement with UN Women and the government to put an end to the practice, but not with a caveat — a sustainable alternative livelihood program.
According to a figure from the World Bank for 2022, 31.8 percent of women in Liberia have had FGM, which necessitates immediate intervention.
“I wanted to congratulate the Weah administration, the traditional leaders, the religious leaders, the women's support group, UN Women, and UNDP for going far beyond lip service, to take coordinated action to preserve the Sande while fighting the scourge of FGM,” McCarthy said.
He said that the UN believes that the practice of FGM in Liberia may be eradicated but emphasized the need for stronger political will.
“I beg the legislature to swiftly enact the proposed anti-FGM law in order to build on the amazing momentum,” he said. “Is it not proper for Liberia, the oldest republic in Africa, to ban the abhorrent practice that harms more than half the population.”