16 November 2017

Tanzania: Girls Fleeing Deadly Genital Mutilation

Dar — ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) - TANZANIA girls are increasingly fleeing their homes and seeking refuge in safe houses amid the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM). Officials confirmed some safe houses were accommodating girls beyond their carrying capacities ahead of the peaking of the rite in December. Every high season, many girls die due to heavy loss of blood or infection after being cut. In Mugumu in the northwestern Mara region, the sole safe house buuilt to accommodate 40 girls is now providing shelter to 76 girls. "Sometimes we put 2-3 girls together on one bed, or use the floor. During the high season, we have sheltered over 300 girls," Apaisaria Kiwori, head matron of the Mugumu safe house, said. "Many girls flee their homes with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing," she said. Every two years, girls as young as age four are registered with local clan leaders to undergo the cut. United Nations Women and local nongovernmental organisations have launched an awareness raising and advocacy programme aiming to end FGM practices in the northwestern region. Hodan Addou, UN Women representative in Tanzania, called on the need to demystify and break the silence around FGM. "It is an assault on the life and dignity of women and girls, a human rights violation," Addou said. - CAJ News

Tanzania

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