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Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case

Sisyphe, 19.12.2013. Interview with Oliver M. Piecha, researcher at Stop FGM in the Middle East

by Mirielle Vallette

The new summary report of UNICEF still does not dare to address the issue of female genital mutilation in the Middle East and South East Asia. Wadi, an German-Iraqi NGO lobbies to make things change.

UNICEF have compiled data collected during 20 years in 28 countries in Africa and Yemen. For the first time, they include Irak. They summarize their findings in a report released in July 2013 (1). In most countries, a great part of girls and women who have undergone mutilations do not see the benefit of them and believe that this practice should stop. The practice continues mainly because mothers who get their daughter mutilated think that other mothers expect them do it as well. As they never talk together about the topic, they do not know that many women are not favorable. A lot of men are also opposed to them. (more…)

The Jordanian town that still circumcises women

The Daily Star, 13.11.2013. By Rana Sabbagh-Gargour

RAHMAH, Jordan: Tucked away in a valley bounded by steep ridges of mountains and stretching from the Red Sea port city of Aqaba to the escarpment of the Southern Ghor of the Dead Sea, is the town of Rahmah. From the outside, the nondescript ramshackle town of over 500 residents, whose Arabic name means “mercy,” appears little different from any other, with the exception of an ancient ritual performed there: that of circumcision, a practice otherwise unheard of in the conservative Hashemite Kingdom.

The tradition is believed to have been brought to Rahmah and other villages dotting the sand swept Wadi Araba region, by tribes and nomadic Bedouins who roamed across the boundary-less region decades ago, before they were forced to settle down in areas bordering Israel after the 1967 occupation of the Sinai Peninsula, the Negev desert and the Gaza Strip. Many of these clans, including the tribe living in Rahmah, trace their origins back to the Sinai Peninsula where the tradition of female genital mutilation (FGM) endures, despite a ban imposed on it by Egypt in 1997.

Religious leader claims ignorance is behind FGM in Iraq

Figo, 4.11. 2013. Female genital mutilation (FGM) in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has been described as a “practice that results from ignorance or religious fervency” by one of the area’s best-known religious commentators. Adnan Ibraham made the comments to Al-Monitor after a report released by UNICEF revealed the problem is still most rife in Kurdistan – where, in most cases, it is justified by perpetrators based on religious interpretations.

FGM was criminalised by the Iraqi government in 2011 following a protracted period of debate surrounding the decision that lasted six years. Since then, UNICEF has confirmed that recorded cases of FGM have almost halved, but the disproportionately high number of victims in Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk is a worrying prospect. Eight per cent of Iraqi women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to some form of the practice.

Mr Ibraham went on to dispel any links between FGM and Islam, saying: “There is no single piece of evidence in the Qur’an or sunna that legitimises or calls for [female] circumcision.”