Female Genital Cutting Is A Crime – Gender Minister
February 27, 2018 10:43 am
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) has sent a strong caution to all those engaged in the cutting of the female genital to put an end to it.
Speaking at a durbar to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) at Pusiga in the Upper East region on the 27th February, 2018, The Honorable Minister stated act is a crime and anyone caught will be punished according to the laws of Ghana.
“FGM is a crime, the law against FGM ACT 741 of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana entitled Criminal Code (Amendment) Act 2007 provides for imprisonment and/or fines for both the circumciser and those who request, incite or promote excision by providing money, goods or moral support. The person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than 10 years” Hon. Djaba revealed.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nation sponsored annual awareness day introduced in 2003, which forms part of UN’s effort to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation.
The Gender Minister at the durbar said FGM is a cultural practice that violates the rights of women and girls and promotes discrimination. “This cultural practice is a canker and must be stopped, since it has a lot of bad implications on the women and girls, which goes a long way to affect the development of our nation. FGM exposes women to health hazards and psychological trauma” she stated.
Studies show that an estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world today have undergone some form of FGM and two million girls are at risk from the practice each year. During President J.J Rawlings’ regime in 1994, Ghana abolished the practice by criminalizing it.
Hon. Djaba observed that “although the current national prevalence stands at about 3.8%, prevalence in the Upper East stands at 27.8% which is far higher than the national prevalence”. This, she said could be possible due to the cross-border practice where people move into neighbouring countries to perpetuate the crime.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba noted practice trickles down from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo into Ghana and is prevalent in some parts of the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Brong Ahafo and Volta Region as well as some Zongo communities in Ghana.
“…over the years, the Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, Development Partners, and Individuals have called for an end to this evil practice. We denounce and frown against the practice of FGM in Ghana. Sixty years of independence is good enough for us to come out of a bondage that is perpetuated by culture”.
The Gender Minister disclosed that her Ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to sensitize and educate citizens from neighbouring countries through their embassies, and also reach to the wider stakeholder base especially traditional rulers-who are custodians of such practices.
“The Ministry will also collaborate with the law enforcement agencies and our development partners to see the way forward in tackling and ending this canker once and for all” she stated.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba however made a clarion call on the media to disseminate the information that the practice of FGM is a crime in Ghana.