Eritrea bans female circumcision

// 5 April 2007

Eritrea has banned the brutal practice of female genital mutilation, the New Scientist reports.

This is definitely a good news story, although who knows how long it will take to get rid of this practice, considering 94% of Etritraen women have been circumcised, according to a local women’s group which pushed the government to change the law.

“Female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes them considerable pain and suffering besides threatening their lives,” the Ministry of Information stated in a proclamation posted on its website.

But for the ban to work, it must be properly enforced, and there is no word (in this story, at least) on what steps the government of Eritrea intends to take to weed out the practice.

And it’s disappointing how the New Scientist has reported this as well:

The practice, which is carried out in both Muslim and Christian communities, can include extensive tissue removal, the stitching up of young girls’ vaginas and removing the clitoris. FGM supporters argue that it helps prevent promiscuous behaviour.

What a way to phrase it. Although impartiality is a very important principle in journalism, there are some things that don’t need this type of treatment.

Would the New Scientist say “Murder supports say it’s completely justified”? Because that’s what their story effectively does. Somehow, I can’t believe that if this was a story about men being forcefully castrated on mass that they’d take this same approach, call me a cynic if you will.

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