From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, FDI Director Calls on Gov’t to Act Tough on FGM
By Momoja Lappia
Jun 8, 2010, 17:04

The Director Foundation for Democratic Initiative Hindowa Saidu has called on past and present governments of Sierra Leone to put more emphasizes on the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).


The Director made this clarion call on Monday 7th June 2010 while responding to questions posed by this reporter on issues of FGM. According to him, past and present governments have done little or nothing to thoroughly address issues of FGM in Sierra Leone, placing more emphasizes on the provincial areas.


Registering his concern further Director Saidu said although Sierra Leone is a signatory or International Human Rights Protocols with an enacted Gender Based Violence Act 2007 the culture of FGM practice still continues inhabited in Sierra Leone.


“The Act says it is illegal to subject anybody under the age of 18 to harmful treatment, including any cultural practice that dehumanizes or is injurious to physical and mental welfare of the Child, series of incidents in the past two years tends to make total mockery”, Hindowa Saidu pointed out, adding that the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives is still concern over government’s ineptitude to dispense justice for four female journalists who were paraded naked sometime in February 2009 in Kenema for speaking about FGM.


Politicians and law enforcement agencies he complained has totally turned blind eyes on the unlawful act.


On how this could be addressed, Hindowa Saidu suggested political willingness and more sensitization on FGM issues.


However, when Awareness Times contacted a Societal Head of the ‘Bondo’ society in Freetown one Madam Sowei Yan Gyaimah of Kroo Bay in Freetown about the veracity of Saidu’s claim, wasted no time in informing that government has indeed done much to sensitize them about the ills of forceful initiations and the use of crude instruments to execute the act, but that apart from being a cultural practice for women in this country, FGM is also a means of livelihood for women, especial in the rural areas.

 

“Eradicating FGM for now, will socially affect we women adversely”, the Bondo Head stressed.



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