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Regional News of Friday, 7 February 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

Gov’t will end FGM practices - Gender Minister

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur says government is making interventions to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.

“This is of worrying concern to government and measures are being put in place to ensure a total end to the practice,” the minister assured.

In a statement to mark World International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, the Gender Minister also appealed to traditional rulers, civil society organizations and religious leaders to join the fight against FGM.

She also expressed apprehension that the practice of FGM was still ongoing in Ghana in spite of national and international laws that prohibit it.

She stated that though majority of Ghanaian communities are shunning the practice, parts of the country still practice it in spite of the associated dangers.

According to the Minister, “in addition to the legislation that criminalizes the practice of FGM, there would be the need for pragmatic interventions to leverage positive social dynamics and bring about a behavioural change towards the eradication of the practice.”

She noted that some measures that government was taking to address the problem includes improving support for victims, protection of women and girls at risk, as well as the enforcement of anti-FGM laws.

FGM is a human rights violation that affects an estimated five girls each minute worldwide and that 180,000 girls are at risk of being subjected to FGM each year.

National statistics show that an average of about four per cent of Ghanaian girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 years have gone through the practice.

While this percentage is lower compared to other countries around the world, the real numbers of girls and women affected translate into hundreds of thousands.

The highest prevalence region in Ghana is the Upper West, with 60 per cent of women aged 45 to 49 years, having undergone FGM, compared to 16 per cent of girls aged between 15 and 19 years.

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