A United Nations Agency has confirmed that 20 girls in the southern most semi-autonomous state of Jubaland have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA) said the girls were subjected to harmful and discriminatory practice in a single day, resulting in injury and heavy bleeding.
“All the victims are too young to give their informed consent. This is a shocking and deeply disturbing incident that violates the rights of these young girls and should have no place in society,” said UNFPA Somalia Representative, Niyi Ojuolape.
FGM is a grave violation of human rights, a horrific form of gender-based violence, and a serious child protection issue.
It causes irreparable physical and psychological harm to women and girls.
The severe drought and the humanitarian crisis have increased the risk that Somali girls face as a result of this practice.
“I stand in solidarity with the young girls who were affected by this incident and condemn this act of violence.
“I also want to assure the Somali people that UNFPA has taken immediate note of this situation and is working closely with the Government of the Jubaland State of Somalia as well as like-minded partners to address it.”
Mr. Ojuolape called on the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that those responsible for this incident are held accountable, to serve as a deterrent to others, and to protect the rights of women and girls.
He urged the Government and the international community to take swift and proactive measures to help eradicate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
According to WHO, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where FGM is practiced.
Only in Somalia, based on the 2020 Somali Health and Demographic Survey, 99 per cent of women aged 15 to 49 in Somalia, have been subjected to FGM, the majority between ages five and nine.
The survey also reports that 72 per cent of women believe it is an Islamic requirement, though some religious leaders have said Islam actually condemns it.
While there is no national legislation outlawing the practice, Puntland state passed a FGM Zero Tolerance Bill last year.