The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Traditional Leaders To Temporarily
Suspend Sande Practices Again

Traditional leaders have again agreed to suspend all Sande society practices and activities within the Republic of Liberia but this time affirmed their signatures to a policy document for the period of three years.
The unanimous decision which takes immediate effect was announced at a two-day a multi-stakeholders reflective sessions on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia held in Gbarnga, Bong County at events marking the commemoration of this year’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
This was announced at a Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders organized national conference to discuss the alteration of the female genital area for non-for-profit reasons, an act which is a violation of human rights and the health and well-being of women and girls.
In December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146, calling upon member countries to globally observe February 6, each year as International Day of Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation.
Globally, this year’s FGM was being commemorated under the Theme: “Accelerating Investment To End FGM” while the local theme was; “A Sober Reflection on FGM: Leading to Protection and a Sustainable Future.”
During the two-day national conference, the traditional leaders resolved that the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL), an institution charged with the responsibility to protect, preserve and foster positive Liberian Culture and Tradition along with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) whose mandate is to preserve the sanity of traditional activities within the means and bounds of Liberia, will take appropriate actions to change any given situation that is not healthy for the citizenry.
The decision also comes in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection (MGCSP) whose mandate is to protect women, girls and vulnerable groups as well as the Civil Society’s role that is to support government’s initiatives, the leaders deliberating on a high level of traditional concerns in the country assured of seeking the restoration of the glory of the culture while at the same time agreed to temporary suspension of all Sande society practices.
Speaking at that same program, the European Head of Delegation expressed that when traditions are harmful, when traditions are wrong, when traditions are illegal, they must evolve.
Delahousse acknowledged that FGM is a tradition in many countries around the world with Liberia not being unique to such practice but expressed that, “It is time to move on because if traditions want to continue in the future, they must evolve.”
The EU envoy emphasized that the practice is hurtful to little girls and warned that if tradition must advance in Liberia, its leaders must change the pattern of their tradition.
“Today FGM is not necessary anymore for tradition. It is harmful for little girls. It deprives them of the full potential of their womanhood, the torture of the act itself and its consequences on health, sometimes in mental health; it must stop!” he warned.
The EU Ambassador Liberia stressed that must move on to a future where little girls do not have to go through FGM to become women or need to be cut to make her a law-abiding and or become a successful member of the community.
Ambassador Laurent Delahousse called on traditional leaders to reflect on what being a modern woman, a member of the community, an active citizen of the State can be without this trauma of cutting, reiterating, “You do not need to cut a girl for her to love her husband, to love her family, to be a good mother, to be a good member and to earn the respect of the community.”
“They must evolve too, just as much as education has evolved along the centuries. What children in schools, students in universities learn today is different from what they were taught 100, 50 or even 10 years ago. The practices that are implemented by the societies, by the traditional schools and upbringing must adapt to today’s world,” he reminded the traditional leaders.
Three years ago in June, traditional leaders from the 11 FGM practicing counties met in Ganta, Nimba County and suspended Sande bushes for one year for the purpose of conducting an inventory to develop a database, modernize the practice and provide alternative economic livelihoods for traditional practitioners.
The results from the inventory identified 1,335 traditional practitioners and 721 traditional grooves in the 11 FGM practices counties in 77 statutory and administrative districts in Liberia and but to-date, only 300 of these traditional practitioners received alternative livelihood support to abandon the practice of FGM.
However, Liberia remains one of five countries still practicing FGM in Africa with a considerable number of young girls being denied access to formal education as the result of this practice by traditional practitioners as bush schools are operated during regular formal school sessions.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.