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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 00:03 GMT 01:03 UK
New call to ban female mutilation
Woman with scissors
Despite attempts to ban it, female circumcision remains widespread
An international conference on female genital mutilation has ended in Kenya with a fresh call to ban the practice.

Campaigners urged more countries to ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa adopted in July 2003.

The protocol says women should be protected from harmful customs. It has so far been ratified by just three states, Rwanda, Libya and Comoros.

Activists say 90 million African women are victims of female circumcision and other forms of genital mutilation.

The declaration issued the end of the three-day conference in Nairobi called on African governments to prohibit such practices.

Where legislation against female mutilation is already in place, "appropriate strategies must be implemented to ensure its effective enforcement," the document said.

The practice "is a violation of the rights of women and girls and an assault on their human dignity. It has no basis in any religion," it added.

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

The BBC's Juliet Dunlop
"Female genital mutilation affects millions of girls and women every year"

Kenyan girls flee mutilation
07 Feb 03  |  Africa
Reversing female circumcision
08 Feb 03  |  Health

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