Thursday, February 6, was observed as United Nations’ Zero Tolerance Day against female genital mutilation (FGM).
The day is recognized and observed globally by government, CSOs’, women’s rights activists and human rights defenders with the intent to create greater public awareness and sensitization on the harmful effects and negative impact of FGM on the wellbeing of women and girls.
The day is also held to remind government of their commitment to women’s rights; including FGM.
In its quest to contribute to the fight against FGM, the Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) joins the International community in calling for an end to this “inhume practice, which has and continue to imperil (endanger) the young girls and women in our country.”
“In spite of signing agreements against FGM internationally, commitments to end the practice have not been honored by most states and progress toward these goals remains slow,” the local women’s organization has observed.
This practice, according to WOLPNET, remains unacceptably high particularly in West African countries, even though 28 other African counties practices FGM.
“We note with appreciation that 22 African countries have legislation against FGM, but regrettably, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Gambia, Nigeria and Cameroon are yet to join that group.
FGM should be discouraged. It is a violation of human rights, and an extreme violation of women and girls. We condemn this practice since it is the sexual abuse of women’s reproductive health right; it marginalizes and results in stigma and discrimination in society.”
The WOLPNET called on the government through the National Legislature to enact laws that would ban these insalubrious (unhealthy, harmful) and negative cultural practices and implement article 5B of the African Charter on Human & People’s Right on the Right’s of Women in Africa, which was rectified in 2005 and printed into handbill.
The WOLPNET also called on all civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations the religious community, all women rights groups, women activists, the business community and all well meaning Liberians to join hands in the drive to save our country by denouncing FGM and all forms of negative cultural practices.
“In the struggle to promote the rights of women in Liberia and the promotion of positive cultural practices, has the government done all it can to understand the dangers associated with FGM and have laws against its practice?” WOLPNET leadership questioned.
They continued: “We have a very good culture and traditions in Liberia, but FGM, forced and early marriages are the practices in our culture that need to be removed.”
WOLPNET leadership therefore, called on the government, particularly the Ministry of internal Affairs, to enact a law against FGM practices to save women and girls from the lifetime of pain caused by FGM.