BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Somali Swahili French Great Lakes Hausa Portugeuse
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Africa  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 12:23 GMT
'Zero tolerance' for genital mutilation
Young Ethiopian women
Circumcision is a taboo topic amongst Ethiopian women

Delegates from 30 African countries have vowed to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) on the continent.

They have declared 6 February the international day on zero tolerance to FGM.

The Pan-African Committee on Traditional Practices, currently meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, says that the day should be used to focus people's minds on eradicating what it calls an extreme form of violence.

There are more than 200 delegates at the conference. The organisation estimates that in Africa two million girls undergo circumcision every year and their health and life are thereby put in jeopardy.

The practice of female circumcision is widespread across Africa, and its defenders say that it is a cultural and religious requirement.

'Dirty'

But the Committee on Traditional Practices says that neither Islam, nor Christianity, permits the destruction of a healthy human organ.

Cameroonian circumciser Mama Anna
Proponents of FGM say it is a valuable cultural heritage

It says that religion has been distorted to justify circumcision.

The Committee argues that if men were subjected to the same kind of cutting as women have to undergo then the practice would have been stopped a long time ago.

Although female circumcision is banned in 14 African countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana and Togo, the practice is still carried out.

In parts of Ethiopia, and elsewhere, women who are uncircumcised as considered dirty and unfit for marriage.

The Committee on Traditional Practices denies that it is importing western, liberal values into Africa.

It insists that it is not against tradition, but says that circumcision is about violence against women, which should not be acceptable anywhere.

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes