The Quandary Regarding Female Genital Mutilation Persists in Kenya
From IR INSIDER:
A ritualistic practice dating back to Ancient Egyptian Civilization around the 5th century BCE, female genital mutilation (FGM) has risen among the most hotly contested human rights predicaments over the past hundred years. From vehement condemnation on the part of the international community, to fervent support in practicing countries of retaining a longstanding tradition, legal measures taken to cut or continue the custom have been largely indecisive, ineffective and ambiguous amongst nations of the developing world.
In 2011, the Government of Kenya felt it time to become an exception to this ambiguity. The Kenyan government passed the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, unconditionally banning FGM in all parts of the state. Violation of this law carries an obligatory three-year prison sentence for all parties implicated. By prohibiting mutilation, this legislation is perceived by many as a long-awaited escape route for girls and women being coerced into pure barbarism, on the sole basis of tradition.
Tatu Kamau, a female Kenyan physician, publicly objects to this law and the logic behind it. Currently, Kamau is appealing to the high courts of Kenya, arguing the option of FGM should be made open to females above the age of 18. According to Kamau, once reaching adulthood, the female has a fundamental right to do what she wishes with her body. Nobody, she argues, including the government, should have the authority to make decisions that “infringe on a woman’s right to exercise her cultural beliefs.”
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