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HomeMedico-LegalKenyan doctor calls for decriminalisation of FGM

Kenyan doctor calls for decriminalisation of FGM

A female doctor in Kenya wants female genital mutilation (FGM) to be decriminalised. Tatu Kamau is asking the courts to allow women above the age of 18 to be able to carry out the circumcision.

CNN reports that she is calling for the annulment of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 and the for the suspension of the board set up to enforce the law. FGM is widely condemned in the country and across parts of Africa, but Kamau argues that it is an age-old tradition and an outright ban infringes on a woman's right to exercise cultural beliefs.

She is representing herself in the case before the Nairobi High Court. “Women who took their daughters for circumcision were not taking them there to destroy them. Those children were not thrown away afterward, they were celebrated as respected members of the society. To use the word in our context suggests that it is malicious and that we are intentionally damaging our females. To me, it is very wrong,” Kamau said.

She is pushing for medical workers and "certified" traditional cutters to be allowed to circumcise women.

"We could have had limitations of where you can do it, when, who can do it for you and how …Those things could have been controlled … such that you have certain months of the year and that is the only time you can do and it can only be done by certain professionals, those are the only people who are allowed to do it," Kamau said.

FGM is illegal in Kenya, and individuals involved in the practice face up to three years imprisonment. The report notes that Kamau's petition has been adjourned until December.

[link url="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/25/africa/kenya-doctor-fgm-petition-intl/index.html"]CNN report[/link]

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