Network Against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS)

Background

In 1991 Somaliland declared independence from the Federal Republic of Somalia. Somaliland has its own political system, government, police force and currency, but its self – declared independence remains unrecognized by the United Nations.
In Somaliland an estimated 99% of girls and women aged 15 –19 years have undergone FGM, making it the country with the highest number of women and girls affected in Africa. Most girls are cut between the ages of 4 and 14 and are carried out by traditional cutters or traditional ‘doctors’, normally older women who are paid a small amount for carrying out the procedure.

⦁ In February 2018, Somaliland Ministry of Religious Affairs has issued fatwa (an Islamic law ruling) banning the practice of female genital mutilation.
⦁ The Somaliland Government Constitution explicitly prohibits harmful practices, excluding FGM.
⦁ Somaliland signed and ratified the Convention on Rights of the Child in May 2002.
⦁ Somaliland declares in Article 10(2)of its Constitution that ‘the Republic of Somaliland recognizes and shall act in conformity with United Nations Charter and with international law, and shall respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
⦁ Constitution of Somaliland, Article 24 states that everyone shall have the right to security of his person, that injury to the person is prohibited, and that crimes ‘against human rights’ such as torture and ‘mutilation’ shall have no limitation periods.
⦁ Article 36 of Somaliland’s Constitution sets out The Rights of Women, and confirms that:
1.The rights, freedoms and duties laid down in the Constitution are to be enjoyed equally by men and women save for matters which are specifically ordained in Islamic Sharia.
2.The Government shall encourage, and shall legislate for, the right of women to be free of practices which are contrary to Sharia and which are injurious to their person and dignity.
⦁ The Constitution of Somaliland Article 8 addresses Equality of Citizens and provides at (2) that ‘programmes aimed at eradicating long lasting bad practices shall be a national obligation’.

⦁ President of Somaliland Musa Bihi Abdi, pledged publicly to outlaw the practice of FGM.
“What is needed now is the political leadership to bring focus and clarity to this campaign led by Somaliland’s hundreds of activists and campaigners. If I am elected president, I will do exactly that.”
The president words during the 2017 campaign.
⦁ Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA). The Ministries of Health, of Justice and of Religion also have responsibility in leading government department responsible for gender issues, including working to end FGM in Somaliland.
⦁ Ministry of Health in 2011 highlighted the challenge of ending FGM in several national documents to of improving reproductive health in a National Health Policy.
⦁ Religious and tribal leaders have started condemning the practices of FGM and other harmful traditional practices.

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