Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the Burkina Faso region of West Africa since 1996. However, around 50 girls are being treated for failed circumcision attempts. Twelve girls have been admitted to the Kaya Regional Hospital while 38 are being treated at Chiphra Protestant Hospital in the capital.
According to Dr. Dieudonne Ouedraogo, some of the girls have suffered serious complications. Some of the victims are as young as four years. According to the UNICEF, three-quarters of women and children in Burkina Faso have undergone circumcision while only 9% are in favour of the practice.
The circumcisions took place between 4th and 6th September in the Kaya region, which is about 100 km north of the capital Ouagadougou. Two 60-year-old women as well as the parents of some of the girls have been arrested. Offenders have been sentenced to three years in prison.
Minister of Women’s Affairs, Laurence Marshall stated that not all girls who suffered botched circumcision have been traced.
While world leaders have pledged to eliminate FGM, it remains widely practised in 30 countries in Africa and some parts of Asia and the Middle East. The practice dates back over 2000 years and is prevalent across many cultures. In 22 out of 28 of the African countries where FGM is criminalized, enforcement is weak and prosecutions rare. It has been estimated that three million girls and women are at risk each year with 125 living with the consequences. However, cultural indoctrination normalizes this practice, regardless of any medical or legal consequence.