Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia:Legal Frameworks, Challenges, and Ongoing Efforts In the battle against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Somalia,Combating Female Genital Mutilation in Somalia:

legal and regulatory frameworks play a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of women and girls. Somalia’s Constitution, specifically Article 15:4, explicitly prohibits FGM, marking a significant step towards addressing this harmful practice and protecting the rights of women and girls. Yet, according to a recent Somali Demographic and Health Survey, an alarming 99% of women aged 15-49 have undergone some form of FGM.

However, despite legislative prohibitions, there is limited evidence to suggest that these laws are effectively implemented on the ground. The persistence of FGM in Somalia underscores the need for ongoing efforts to strengthen enforcement mechanisms and address the cultural and social factors driving the practice.

In response to this challenge, there are ongoing efforts to pass comprehensive legislation addressing not only FGM but also Child, Early, and Forced Marriage (CEFM). These legislative initiatives aim to provide stronger legal protections for women and girls, ensuring that perpetrators of FGM are held accountable for their actions.

Additionally, policy and program initiatives are being implemented to enhance educational opportunities and access to reproductive health and rights for young girls in Somalia. By empowering girls with education and information about their rights, these initiatives seek to challenge prevailing social norms and promote alternative rites of passage that do not involve FGM.

Religious leaders also play a crucial role in the fight against FGM in Somalia. Efforts to promote opposition to FGM among religious leaders aim to leverage their influence to challenge cultural norms and encourage communities to abandon this harmful practice. The issuance of fatwas against FGM by religious authorities in Puntland and Somaliland represents important steps towards changing religious discourse on FGM and fostering a supportive environment for efforts to end the practice.

Despite these legal and programmatic efforts, the persistence of FGM in Somalia highlights the need for continued action. The lack of effective enforcement, coupled with deeply entrenched cultural beliefs, poses significant challenges to efforts to eradicate FGM. Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach that engages communities, religious leaders, policymakers, and civil society organizations in coordinated efforts to challenge harmful practices and promote gender equality.

In conclusion, while Somalia has taken important steps towards combating FGM through legal and programmatic interventions, the battle against this harmful practice is far from over. Continued efforts are needed to strengthen enforcement mechanisms, challenge cultural norms, and empower women and girls to assert their rights and reject FGM. Only through sustained commitment and collective action can Somalia create a future where every woman and girl can live free from the physical and psychological harm of FGM.


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