IOM Marks International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 7, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Yesterday (6/2/14), as part of its migration health programme to improve the health conditions of migrants and mobile populations in Somalia, IOM and the Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC) marked the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Aiming to raise awareness on FGM on this day, IOM and SWDC reached approximately 400 internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Al-cadaala and Walalo Biyole settlements in Mogadishu through community-based social mobilization.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that FGM is widely practiced in Somalia and there is an urgent need to increase awareness of the impact of the harmful practice on the health of women and girls. According to a 2012 joint programme report by UNICEF and UNFPA, an estimated 98 per cent of women have undergone FGM in Somalia.
Reports from IOM partners in 2013 indicate that most FGM survivors are girls between the ages of 9 and 12 who were mutilated with the consent of their mothers. The prevalence of the practice predisposes Somali women of child bearing age to various complications and in some instances puts their lives at risk during child birth.
“FGM is against Islamic religion as well as international law. A huge number of women suffer during childbirth and some of them even die due to complications caused by FGM.” said SWDC Legal Advisor Zahra Mohamed Ahmed, calling for international agencies and NGOs to organize campaigns to combat the practice.
“IOM has been working against gender-based violence (GBV) in Somalia by strengthening referral systems with partners, providing psychosocial first-aid and counselling to survivors of GBV, building capacity of relevant institutions, providing protection for vulnerable women, and improving security in IDP settlements by providing solar lanterns,” said IOM Somalia's Ruth Mbugua.
In 2013 alone, IOM also provided primary healthcare services to over 12,000 IDPs throughout Somalia, with financial support from various donors such as the Government of Japan and the Government of France.