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The BBC's Andrew Harding
"In desperation they turned to human rights groups"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 13 December, 2000, 15:51 GMT
Kenyan girls win circumcision ban
Kenyan girls
Case could heighten war against female circumcision
For the first time in Kenya, two teenage schoolgirls have won a court order preventing their father from forcing them to undergo female genital mutilation, traditionally known as circumcision.

A court in Rift Valley Province issued a permament injunction on their father, Pius Kandie, stopping him from allowing his daughters - 17-year-old Ednah and 15-year-old Beatrice - to undergo the process without their consent.

The magistrate Daniel Ochenja ordered the father to continue providing financial support for the girls, who are still living in the family home.

The order has been welcomed by human rights activists as an important step towards ending the practice, which remains widespread in much of rural Kenya.

Historic case

The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Kenya helped the girls bring the case.

Old picture of girls preparing for circumcision
FGM is common among Kalenjin people in Kenya
The girls' lawyer, Ken Wafula, has termed the case historic saying it would encourage other girls in the province, who are forced into circumcision, to make a stand against the practice.

He told the BBC that the two sisters considered the practice outdated and repugnant to justice and morality in the 21st century.

The human rights group says girls from the Kalenjin tribe are normally subject to circumcision and immediately forced into sexual activities or marriage.

This, says Mr Wafula, disrupts their academic growth, exposes them to unwanted pregnancies and the deadly disease, Aids.

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See also:

09 Jun 00 | Health
Circumcision cuts HIV risk
18 Jun 99 | Health
Six diseases threaten world
20 Sep 00 | Americas
UN reveals women's torment
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