United Kingdom will be compare with other countries that are practising FGM, and I had chosen Egypt and Ethiopia to be compared. I choose Egypt because it is believe that FGM was originated from Egypt. Ethiopia was then chosen because its prevalence of FGM is considered as one of the highest among countries that practises FGM. Who practices FGM in These Countries? In UK, FGM is seen in some ethic minority as a result of immigration and refugee movements78 and they are mainly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
The Department of Health in UK had estimated that the prevalence of FGM is around 74,000 women and further 7,000 are at risk each year. 80 Throughout Egypt, both Muslims and Christians81 practise FGM. 82 In Cairo, Egypt, women that practised FGM is seen as young, Muslim, single, educated, employed and of lower incomes. 83 Research by WHO had shown that prevalence was 97% in 1995. 84 UNICEF and Egyptian government had also reported85 the prevalence of FGM. 86 FGM is prevalent throughout the whole Ethiopia since 46 out of 66 ethics groups carried out FGM.
87 The prevalence of FGM is 75%. 88 Christians, Muslims and Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) practices FGM in Ethiopia. 89 Which Type of FGM? Girls in UK do not undergo the procedure in UK itself. During summer school holidays90, young girls who practise FGM would travel abroad to undergo mutilation. 91 In Egypt, school holiday is also the traditional time for girls to be mutilated. 92 Here, the most common type of FGM is circumcision; and infibulation is more common in areas of South Egypt closer to Sudan. 93
According to National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia (NCTPE), the predominant type of FGM is clitoridectomy, followed by excision and infibulations. 94 The forth type of FGM is usually performed in the Amhara region. 95 Reasons Practising FGM. All the FGM societies practices FGM for common reasons. Hence, these three countries should not be an exception. The main reasons to perform FGM are cleanliness, to be eligible for marriage, virginity and fidelity after marriage. Legislation Against FGM.
Female Genital Mutilation (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) Act 2003 and Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 are the two acts in UK, which make FGM illegal. 96 The maximum penalty for breaking such law is 14 years imprisonment. 97 In fact, since 1985, FGM is illegal in UK with Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985. A government spokesperson had admitted to the Lords that no one had been prosecuted98 under the Act because of the difficulty to get evidence.
It is very clear that since the death of a 12- year- old girl in June 2007, due to female circumcision, Egypt had banned all types of FGM. Now, new legislation is needed to enforce it. 100 On facts, FGM had been made illegal in Egypt in 1996 when the Ministry of Health and Population issued decree Ni?? 261101 but it did not legally prevent the performance of FGM in a home by a non- governmental medical practitioner. 102 There is no specific law in Ethiopia, which states that FGM is illegal.
However, the 1995 Constitution103 and the 1960 Penal Code104 prohibits harmful traditional practices. 105 The provisions are interpreted as prohibiting FGM. 106 The Family Law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the CEDAW were ratified to eliminate FGM. Efforts to Abolish FGM. Even with laws, the problem of FGM cannot be solved. There must be other efforts to put an end to this practise. In London, UK, Scotland Yard is offering $40,000 as reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution107 of anyone carrying out FGM in Britain or sending girls abroad for mutilation.
Besides, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) launched an ongoing awareness campaign to inform parents and practitioners that it is illegal to involve in any kind of FGM inside or outside of UK. 109 In Egypt, religious leader and Egyptian official media had campaign to stress that FGM is irrelevant with any religious belief and enlighten people on its negative implications.
The Ministry of Health and Population also had campaign to inform traditional leaders of the hazards of FGM. 111 The government in Ethiopia is working to discourage FGM through programmes in public schools.The Ministry of Education had included materials, which explain the negative effects of FGM in primary school syllabus. 112 There are also ongoing efforts to prevent FGM with the establishment of committees at all administrative levels. 113
FGM can be equate to an evil which has no room for its existence. I personally am not ready to standby while our girls are mutilated. Cultural acceptance does not include accepting the unacceptable. And I wonder how many people in the world are willing to accept it?