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GeneralLiberia news

Stakeholders demand a speedy end to FGM practice

A multi-stakeholder panel has dialogued on the health, psychological, and general negative impacts of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on women and girls in Liberia, with a strong resolve to end the practice across the country.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, Liberia, April 5, 2024 – A multi-stakeholder panel comprising local and international participants has brainstormed on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and its implication for the health, psychology, and general well-being of women and girls in Liberia.

The conversation seeks to examine and deliberate on the challenges, consequences, and implications of FGM, ranging from health, psychology, and, most imploringly, the well-being of women and girls, with a general call for the passage of a Sexual Reproductive Law of Liberia, which also aims at eradicating the practice thru legal abortion.

Providing insight into international actions banning the practice of FGM, United Nations Women’s Country Representative of Liberia, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, said at international, regional, and local levels, there are instruments that have recognized FGM as a harmful traditional practice and demand legislative action to ban it.

Representative Lamptey pointed out that it’s estimated that twelve thousand girls are at risk of FGM around the world each day, while in Liberia, over 38 percent of females between 15 and above have undergone the harmful traditional practice.

“From the Human Rights Law to the African Chapter on Human and People’s Rights, the Convention on the Abolition of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Girls, the Conventions on Right of a Child to the Maputu Protocol, all have acknowledged the immediate need for countries to ban FGM because it’s harmful. And Liberia is signature to all of those treaties”, she noted.

According to her, the Maputu Protocol, in fact, mandates countries to adopt legislation to address FGM social and economic measures to ensure prevention, punishment, and eradication of harmful traditional practices, exclusively FGM.

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“We don’t have a shortage of mandate, either regionally or internationally, to ban FGM practice across the country. We all know that the practice is harmful, but it continues in Liberia. Finally, I also want you to know that we have taken some steps and made some progress”, Ambassador Lamptey said.

The World Health Organization Liberia (WHO), in collaboration with the United Nations Women (UN Women), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, embarked on a day-long panel discussion here Thursday, April 4, 2024, on FGM health implications.

The gathering brought together over one hundred local and international delegates. Prominent local delegates at the occasion included Health Minister Dr. Louise Kpoto, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Ms. Laura Golakeh, Grand Cape Mount County Senator and Senate Health Committee Chair Dabah M. Varpilah, and Liberia’s Culture Ambassador Julie Endee.

The diplomatic community was represented by Dr. Peter Clement, the World Health Organization’s country representative; Ms. Comfort Lamptey, the United Nations Women’s Country Representative; and Ms. Bidisha Pillai, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative.

Earlier, Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Louise Kpoto, urged the panel to discuss issues they can take to the legislature to request a moratorium or a ban on FGM practice nationwide.

She described FGM as a harmful practice that should be eradicated due to its negative implications and impacts. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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