Tag Archives: Child advocacy

Promotion and protection of the rights of children; frequently through a legal process.

Attitude toward female genital mutilation among Somali and Harari people, Eastern Ethiopia.

FREEInt J Womens Health. 2016; 8: 557–569.

Attitude toward female genital mutilation among Somali and Harari people, Eastern Ethiopia.

Abathun AD, Sundby J, Gele AA


Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a worldwide problem, and it is practiced by many communities in Africa and Asia as well as immigrants from those areas. This practice results in short- and long-term health consequences on women’s health. Like many other developing countries, FGM is widely practiced in Ethiopia, especially among Somali and Harari ethnic groups. Despite intensive campaigns against FGM in Ethiopia, since 2011, it has been practiced in the aforementioned communities. There is no recent information as to whether these campaigns have an impact on the attitude and practice of the community regarding FGM. This qualitative research was aimed at exploring the attitudes of Somali and Harari people between 18 and 65 years toward FGM. Methods: A purposive sampling technique was used to recruit 64 (32 in each region) participants. Data were collected from October to December 2015 in Somali and Harari Regions. Results: The findings showed that there was a strong support for the continuation of the practice among female discussants in Somali region, whereas male discussants from the same region and the majority of the participants from Harari region had a positive attitude toward the discontinuation of the practice. Marriageability was the major reason for practicing FGM in Somali region, whereas making girls calm, sexually inactive, and faithful for their husbands were mentioned in Harari region. Although young men in both the regions prefer to marry uncircumcised girls, the study showed that there are some differences in the attitude toward the FGM practice between the people in the two regions. Conclusion: The findings show that there is an attitudinal difference between the people in the two regions, which calls for behavioral change communication using women-centered approach and culturally appropriate strategies. As young people in both the regions had the intention to marry uncircumcised girls, there has to be a strong advocacy and multisectoral collaboration to stop FGM in both the regions.

This article can be accessed in this LINK.

Guidance. Female genital mutilation: guidelines to protect children and women

UK Home Office, Department for Education, and The Rt Hon Lynne Featherstone MP. 2011

Guidance. Female genital mutilation: guidelines to protect children and women

thumbnail_MultiAgencyPracticeGuidelinesNov14.pdfThese updated guidelines support and assist frontline professionals, such as teachers, health professionals, police officers and social workers, in safeguarding children and protecting adults from the abuses associated with FGM. This guidelines are applied in England and Wales.


This guidelines can be accessed in this LINK


Genital mutilation of girls

Women’s Health (Lond Engl), 3(4): 475-485 , DOI 10.2217/17455057.3.4.475

Genital mutilation of girls

Almroth L, Elmusharaf S


Female genital mutilation is a traditional practice affecting girls when their genitals are cut for social, cultural or other non-medical reasons. It is estimated that 3 million girls undergo the procedure every year, mainly in areas in Africa and Asia where it is traditionally practised, but owing to migration patterns, girls living in other parts of the world are also at risk. This article describes the practice of female genital mutilation in a changing world and outlines some aspects in relation to female genital mutilation in girls and women that health staff, teachers, social workers and others should pay attention to. Knowledge regarding complications is important for healthcare, but when complications have been used as arguments against the practice this has had limited effect. Information regarding health risks has to be integrated into culturally sensitive approaches based on human rights and improving the situation for girls and women in order to reach a point where genital mutilation of girls will be generally abandoned.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female genital mutilation. Review and aspects of medico-legal interests.

Cuad. med. forense v.16 n.3 Sevilla jul.-sep. 2010 FREE


Female genital mutilation. Review and aspects of medico-legal interests. (Article in Spanish)

Gallego MA, López MI


The gradual arrival in Spain of people from sub-Saharan Africa, has highlighted the practice of a series of ancient rituals in girls, harmful to their health, and which are encompassed within the concept of Female Genital Mutilation in accordance with the WHO definition. In our country these acts are classified as a crime of injury. Therefore they are likely to raise legal medical evaluations. We consider it particularly important knowledge of these practices on the part of professionals in the forensic medicine.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Br J Community Nurs. 2009 Feb;14(2):86-9.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Griffith R, Tengnah C.

School of Health Sciences, Swansea University, UK. richard.griffith@swan.ac.uk


Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM with some three million girls at risk in Africa every year. The procedure has no health benefits and can cause severe bleeding and continence problems, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths. FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of one’s human rights (World Health Organisation, 2008). In the UK it is a procedure outlawed by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

There is no LINK to view this article online.


Masters in Women’s Law Programme, Southern and Eastern Africa Regional Women’s Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Zimbabwe. (2008)LMEFREE

“A case of culture gone awry”: An investigation of female initiation ceremonies and Nyau dance vigils on the rights of teenage girls to education and sexual reproductive health amongst migrant communities in Norton, Zimbabwe

Thabethe SN


This dissertation focuses on the harm suffered by teenage girls who, often forced into early marriages by poverty, must first engage in the customary practices of initiation ceremonies followed by participation in highly ritualized dance vigils. Evidence from a wide range of sources analysed in the context of various methodologies, in particular the Women’s Law Approach, testifies loudly to the serious harm caused, primarily, to their health and education as a result of the growing abuses of these practices. In order to protect and realize the human rights of these vulnerable young women in terms of local and international HR instruments which bind Zimbabwe, the writer does not suggest abolishing the practices, but rather reforming them internally by educating their adult overseers.

This Master Thesis Dissertation can be accessed in this LINK

Culture and Cutting

Hastings Center Report.

Article first published online: 8 NOV 2012. DOI: 10.1002/hast.86. Nov-Dec 2012 42(6):3

Culture and Cutting

Elizabeth Reis


The two provocative essays in this issue of the Hastings Center Report should stimulate debate not only about female genital cutting, fetal dexamethasone, and clitoral reduction surgery, but also about our fierce commitment to particular cultural norms about the body. Under what conditions may adults irreversibly modify a child’s body because they think the change is in her best interest? Certainly, parents who opt for female genital cutting or for surgical reduction of an enlarged clitoris in a girl with congenital adrenal hyperplasia want to make choices that will contribute to their child’s potential happiness. If cutting in Africa—or mitigating CAH symptoms here—upholds a girl’s gender identity, which will translate into a fulfilled life as an adult, some argue that a parent’s refusal to abide by social prescriptions does the child a serious disservice

This article can be accessed in this LINK.

News: Spain considers improving law on female circumcision

Lancet. 2001 may;357(9267):1510

News: Spain considers improving law on female circumcision

Bosch X


A regional court in Spain launched an inquiry on May 2 into six cases of illegal circumcision of immigrant African girls, amid calls for harsher penalties for practitioners of the operation and immigrant parents who force their children to endure the barbaric procedure.

On May 4, the Official Medical College of Barcelona asked doctors to notify the judge of any suspected cases of genital mutilation so that children could be protected. “This practice cannot be justified with the argument that it’s a cultural rite to be respected”, said the college.

Paediatricians from two hospitals in Zaragoza, the capital of the Aragón region, discovered the mutilations and suspected that at least one of the operations was done very recently in Spain. The Zaragoza city council immediately filed a lawsuit that called the practice a “crime and a violation of human rights”…

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Safeguarding children: a call to action

Lancet. 2009 Jan;373(9660):280 – 281

Safeguarding children: a call to action

Aynsley-Green A, Hall D


Since Kempe’s description, almost 50 years ago, of the “battered baby”, we have become all too familiar with sexual and emotional abuse of children, neglect, fabricated illness, bullying, and exposure to domestic violence. In many countries the catalogue of abuse and exploitation also includes female genital mutilation, child trafficking and prostitution, sweatshop labour, and coercive enrolment into military service. The Lancet‘s Series on child maltreatment describes the progress that has been made in recognising maltreatment and its effects in the short and long term, and in evaluating interventions once abuse has occurred…

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female genital cutting (mutilation/circumcision): ethical and legal dimensions

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics2002 Dec; 79(3):281-287

Female genital cutting (mutilation/circumcision): ethical and legal dimensions

Cook RJ, Dickens BM, Fathalla MF


The practice better described as female genital cutting (FGC) is of long standing in some communities, and has spread to non-traditional countries by immigration. It is of varying degrees of invasiveness, often including clitoridectomy, but all raise health-related concerns, which can be of considerable physical and/or psychological severity, and compromise gynecological and obstetric care. The practice is not based on a requirement of religious observance, although parents usually seek it for their daughters in good faith. It is directed to the social control of women’s sexuality, in association with preservation of virginity and family honor. FGC is becoming increasingly prohibited by law, in countries both of its traditional practice and of immigration. Medical practice prohibits FGC. In compromising women’s health and negating their sexuality, FGC is a human rights abuse that physicians have a role in eliminating by education of patients and communities.

This article can be purchased in this LINK