Mali Govt to Face ECOWAS Court For Failure to Ban FGM

A number of women's rights groups have filed a case against the government at the ECOWAS regional court to try and force the authorities in Bamako to take action against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The initiative could set a legal precedent and have wider implications for Africa. FGM involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and has no health benefits. According to the World Health Organisation, the procedure can cause infection, create problems with childbirth and lead to an increased risk of newborn deaths and can also lead to bleeding, problems with urination and cysts. Mali is a party to international human rights instruments, such as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), which specifically includes articles against the elimination of harmful practices such as FGM. Despite this successive governments in Mali have failed to criminalise the practice.

InFocus

Female Genital Mutilation is performed on women and girls by some ethnic groups in Africa (file photo).

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