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Stop FGM Middle East, 3.2.2014. By Hannah Wettig
Oman is not on the map of countries where female genital mutilation is practiced. Neither the United Nations nor international NGOs have taken notice of FGM in the Gulf region – except Yemen. Yet, there are quite a number of reports about its existence in Oman and in most other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, some old from the 1960s, others are medical studies about cysts and other complications.
Stop FGM Middle East picked Oman for a first field trip to the Gulf region because of its relatively liberal political climate and the government’s concern for women’s rights.
Several Omani bloggers and journalists have written about FGM. The Ministry of Health mentioned it as a matter of concern. It was certainly a good sign that the issue was discussed openly – even if seldom.
From the different reports it was hard to assess how widespread the phenomenon really was. Some articles estimated a prevalence of 20% to 30%. Several authors assumed that FGM was mainly practiced in the Southern governorate of Dhofar with some pockets in the mountainous area in the North where a “pricking”-type was practiced. We were skeptical: Other reports hinted that FGM might be much more widespread than these authors believed. (more…)