By C. Winnie Saywah
Activist-Chris Harris calls on National Government to support and protect the human rights of girls and women against Female genital Mutilation. Activist Chris Harris in his campaign sensitization against female genital mutilation (FGM) a long standing barbaric culture that has harm and violated the rights of girls and women in the fifteen counties of Liberia, calls on National government to take immediately actions towards ending the violence through legislative reforms, police initiative and implementing prevention and programmes that will provide safety and security for local communities.
The Activist spoke at the political palava- hut at the University of Liberia on Capitol Hill with cross-sectioned of students.
Activist Harris further defined Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) by the World Health Organization (WHO) as all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or injury to the female genital organs, for non therapeutic reasons. The WHO classifies the practice into four types: type I (clitoridectomy), type II (excision), and type III (infibulation) are ordered according to a growing level of severity, while type IV comprises all other harmful procedures performed on the female genitalia for non-medical purpose.
Activist indicated to the audience that FGM is associated with series health risks and consequences and female who have undergone the harmful so-called culture experienced pain and bleeding as a consequence of the procedure. Some long-term health problems include chronic pain, actual decreased sexual enjoyment, post-traumatic stress disorder etc.
Mr. Harris articulated that the Sande society is a major issue in Liberia and many girls and women are forcibly taken there by their parents, traditional leaders, and other influential relatives in their family in name of obedience to tradition.
This harmful traditional practice has immensely contributed to the lack of significant progress of our girls and women education in the past and now.
The FGM is a deeply entrenched and harmful cultural practice in Liberia that violates series International treaties, Regional human rights Principles, Conventions and Standards that Liberia is signatories to: The Convention on the Rights of the child (CR), (1989); The Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), (1979); The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948; The Rights of a child; The Rights to Health; The international covenant on civil and political Rights (ICCPR), (1966); The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 12 Female Genital Mutilation (the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Covenant).
Activist Harris duly called the three branches of government, especially, the executive to take the lead in providing a bill to the House of Representative to enact an legislation that will end FGM.