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Female genital mutilation banned in Eritrea

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    Female genital mutilation banned in Eritrea 11:46 05 April 2007 NewScientist.com news service New Scientist and AFP Related Articles Female genital mutilation
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2007
      Female genital mutilation banned in Eritrea
      • 11:46 05 April 2007
      • NewScientist.com news service
      • New Scientist and AFP

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      Eritrea has banned the life-threatening practice of female circumcision, the government announced late on Wednesday.

      Anyone who requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation (FGM) will be punished with a fine and imprisonment. "Female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes them considerable pain and suffering besides threatening their lives," the Ministry of Information stated in a proclamation posted on its website.

      The move follows a campaign against the practice by the National Union of Eritrean Women, which says that 94% of Eritrean women have been circumcised.

      The practice, which is carried out in both Muslim and Christian communities, can include extensive tissue removal, the stitching up of young girls' vaginas and removing the clitoris. FGM supporters argue that it helps prevent promiscuous behaviour. It can be a dangerous and traumatic procedure which can cause infertility, lead to complications in childbirth and provoke infection and death.

      FGM is widespread in many parts of Africa and the Middle East. It is outlawed in a number of African countries, but laws are rarely enforced.


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