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NEWS : Local News  

United States Embassy Blasts FGM in Sierra Leone
By Abdul Karim Kabia
Feb 6, 2009, 17:20
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The Embassy of the United States of America has said "Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful procedure that threatens the health and human rights of women and hinders their development." This disclosure was made in a press statement issued by the Public Affairs Office of the Embassy today Friday 6th February 2009.

"Medical experts note that FGM endangers the health of women and girls in Sierra Leone, and is sometimes practiced on girls as young as five," the release stated, noting that in December 2005, Sierra Leone signed the Dakar Declaration, committing to enact legislation making the practice illegal. The release went on to state that "In 2007, the Child Rights Act made it illegal to forcefully subject anyone under the age of 18 to FGM." The release however urged that more must be done to strengthen and enforce the law, whilst describing the progress made so far as a laudable one.

"The United States has supported activities to eliminate FGM around the world, including in Sierra Leone, teaching health care providers and practitioners about the long-term implications of FGM and training practitioners so they may obtain alternate sources of income," the release maintained.

According to the release, the United States Government stands with the people of Sierra Leone in their battle to safeguard the health and lives of all women in the country. Women, it went on, face numerous threats to their health in their daily lives with infant and maternal mortality among the highest in the world and basic womens health care often financially out of reach, adding that "It is a tragedy that another threat to their health is needlessly added by dangerous practices". The United States Embassy however used the press release as an opportunity to implore the people of Sierra Leone to put the health of women and children ahead of preserving harmful traditional practices. "The mothers, sisters, and daughters of Sierra Leone deserve to be protected from unnecessary threats to their health and merit the opportunity to become fully productive citizens of the world," the release ended.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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