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Protect us from this outdated practice! Pokot girls appeal to govt to punish errant FGM surgeons

FGM surgeons sitting waiting to hand over their tools to the former State Minister of Gender and culture Ms. Rukia Nakadama in 2015 (PHOTO/OPOLOT)

AMUDAT – Girls in Amudat district in Karamoja region have appealed to government to instate tough measures to deal with perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the North-Eastern district.

The girls made this appeal on Wednesday, September 4, during the debate dubbed “Whats’s affecting girl child education” that was held in Amudat, the discussion attracted various stakeholders from the Karamoja region.

It was organized by Saver world an organization that deals in sensitizing the Karimojong to educate and embrace girl-child education.

The girls noted that although the government has criminalized the FGM practice, many girls are still silently forced to endure brutal cultural practices.

Becky Chapar who is a pupil of Kalas Girl’s Primary School during the debate urged the Ugandan government to engage the Kenyan government to also to deal with FGM perpetrators adding that many girls were being taken and cut from across border of Kenya.

“We need to be protected from this outdated practice by ensuring that perpetrators face tough punishment,” she said.

Grace Chelangat another girl and a pupil of Kalas girls primary School asked government to support girls who run away from their homes fearing FGM practice.

FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed.

It’s a ritual practice to initiate a girl into womanhood during the exercise; a cow and goat are killed to celebrate.

The FGM cutter is invited to the girl’s home and the girl is asked to go up the hill with a stone on which she sits with her head held up high and legs spread wide for the cutter to circumcise her.

There are usually at least eight girls circumcised on any given day during the season using one sharp object.

The practice is done by the Sabiny community in the districts of Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo where 50 percent of women and girls undergo FGM. Among the Pokot in the districts of Amudat, Nakapiripirit and Moroto, 95 percent of women and girls undergo the practice.

According to the United Nations Population Fund-UNFPA, an agency championing the fight against FGM in the region, since 2010 when the FGM Act was enacted, mutilators are now shying away from the practice.

In 2010 the Uganda government passed a law against the practice where it was stipulated that those found red-handed cutting girls will face life imprisonment.

Mr. Francis Kiyonga’ the district LCV Chairperson of Amudat on Wednesday, September 4, said that the FGM has done more harm than good although it’s the tribal culture but it must be stopped.

He also disagreed with the report by the UN agency that has indicated good progress in the fight against the practice especially in Amudat and Moroto.

“We should not relax that we are doing well in the fight against the practice no, things are not good on the ground,” he said.

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