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NAFIS supports the survivors of FGM/C by esteblished three support centers in Hargeisa, Borama and Burao

Produced by: (Amplifying civil society voice on GBV coalition members in Somaliland)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a harmful traditional practice that involves the cutting or removal of the external genitals.  It is typically found in the traditional group or community cultures with patriarchal social structures.  The reasons for the practice are complex and the origins are often lost in the mists of time. So within this article, we will emphasize to know about the originality of FGM, although the origin is difficult to understand, there has been anthropological and historical research to help us understand how the practice of FGM comes about. Whoever FGM has practised in some communities in the belief that it’s a religious requirement, but some research shows that FGM predates Islam and Christianity.

In the history, there are some researchers who have traced the practice of Egypt in the 15 century BC argued that the geographical distribution of FGM suggests it is originated from the west coast of red seas.  

Somali history of FGM practice goes back to 1609,  Dos Santos Reported that a group near Mogadishu, Somalia had the custom to sew up their females, especially young slaves to make them unable for conception which makes their price higher and creates confidence for buying masters due to chastity situation of the young female slaves.  The practice is supported by traditional beliefs, value and attitudes that it is a means of preserving girl’s virginity until marriage. FGM is a pre-requisite to marriage and marriage is vital to women’s social and economic survival and they believe, that if their daughters are not circumcised would not get a husband and this harmful traditional has been guided by taboos from generation to generation.

 

In the Somali community, they generally believe and agree upon that FGM practice is culturally rooted, there are others who do it for religious reasons, however, female circumcision has not been thoroughly confirmed as a religious obligation, but there are some religious sheikhs who refer hadith and refer female circumcision as Sunnah. There are some reasons why FGM is practised today is a mix of culture, religious and social factors within families and communities. Moreover, FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl child properly and preparing her for marriage and adulthood associated with cultural ideals of feminist and modesty. Although there is no religious scripts prescribe the practices, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support divine with reference to Hadith, While Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM, Some promote it while some consider it irrelevant and others contribute to its elimination.

However, it's needed for an accurate scientific and social understanding for FGM that is based on cultural norms and inherited misconceptions, and they should have knowledge of the following, the scientific definition of the FGM practice, the natural functions for which the organs were created, the physical and psychological consequence of the FGM practice on the girl child or the mature women, the social reasons behind the FGM practice, for example what motivates Somali family to circumcise their daughters, likewise we will emphasize Somali people have previous relations with Egyptian and there was interaction of cultural and religious, and the originality of the FGM practice in Somali community.

First, the scientific definition of the FGM is the total or partial cutting or Excision of the external genitalia. In the Medical view of the natural functions for which these organs were created are, They protect other genital organs, the natural secretions facilitate sexual intercourse and increase, the close relationship between the two parties, they facilitate the attainment of sexual satisfaction by the female, which is a legitimate human right, They help direct expulsion of urine away from the body, thereby maintaining cleanliness of the organs, in the physical, its expose the girl child and later the women to numerous health consequence and risks that persist for their lives, while in the psychological and social consequences, the circumcision is a painful experience for any girl child and has numerous psychological consequences such as fear, depression, and mistrust of parents and loss of self-confidence.

 

The main Islamic principles refuting this ancient practice; there is no evidence in Islamic law that necessitates female circumcisions nor is it part of the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions) nor an honorable act, the value and sanctity of the body as well as the rights of the human being, male or female to enjoy physical and psychological health are among the precepts of all divine religions and are advocated by the authentic prophetic hadith “Do not Harm yourself or Others[1]”. This hadith urges every Muslim to avoid any practice that would harm him or others’. Both modern science and human experience corroborate the fact that FGM definitely leads to the harm of the girl child and, later the mature women as a result of removing vital organs from her body and depriving her for their natural functions, and exposes her to lifelong health risks and psychological consequence, Allah Almighty said: “Do not kill yourself”[2] and “Do not cast yourself into perdition[3]. The precepts of Islam call for the respect of the sexual relationship between a Husband and his wife and emphasize that each party is entitled to a successful and happy relationship. It would, therefore, be considered selfish and egotistical, a matter interdicted by Islam, should one party, and not the other, attain satisfaction.

The Sunnah does not stipulate any form of female circumcision and the Prophet’s biography which has recorded the details of the prophet’s life and that of his household does not mention that the Prophet circumcised his daughters, wives or any female member of his household.

 

According to the health consequence of the FGM practice on the women and girl health, if there is an obligation and not mentioned in the Quran, its needed to abandon FGM and leave the girls as Allah Created them.

 Finally, Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran We have Created man in the best form[4] People are of the view that FGM is meant to beautify the female, it’s as IF Allah created her physique with a flaw and they are repairing it!!!!

 

 

[1] Narrated by Al Dar Qutny on the authority of Abu Said Al Khidri of whom Al Hakem said: authentic on

the condition of Muslim; Sunnan Ibn Majeh, 2/784 No. 2340; Mawta Malik: 2/745; Al Sunnan Al Kobra by

Bahiqi: 6/69; Al Mostadrak by Al Hakim, 2/58; Sunnan Al Dar Qutny, 4/227; Majma’Al (13) Zawa’id, 4/110.

[2] Surat Al-Nessa’a (The Women), Verse 29.

[3] Surat Al Bakara (The Cow), Verse 195.

[4] Chapter (95) sūrat l-tīn (The Fig)

Produced by: (Amplifying civil society voice on GBV coalition members in Somaliland)

Rape is a violation of human rights which results health consequence including physical, psychological, and emotional and a serious loss of dignity and respect. In social aspect, it causes a lot of problems which have an impact on the security, economy, and the health of the community; Rape is one of the most common violations against women and Children’s rights. Somaliland was one of the lowest rape cases in the previous time; however, there is an increase of rape cases in the last decade.


As world health organization reports have described the consequences of the rape, including Gynecological disorders, Reproductive disorders, Sexual disorders, Infertility, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Pregnancy complications, Miscarriage, Sexual dysfunction, Acquiring sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, Mortality from the injuries, Increased risk of suicide, Depression, Chronic pain Psychosomatic disorders Unsafe abortion and Unwanted pregnancy (Krug, 2002 report).

Women and children are most groups who are at high risk and vulnerabilities to be raped, in the most cases of the rape occur in where their low security, including IDPs, rural area, some villages in the cities, it’s also reported the majority of rape victims are young and old women.

The problems of the rape (sexual violence) have social impact on the dignity of the victims, its strained relationships with family, friend and intimate partners, it creates less emotional support from friends and family, creating discrimination of victims and it also enhance community's hostility and minimize their integration,

Somali community have traditional rules to solve the internal problem of the society, but in terms of issues of the rape, traditional rule (Customary law) is the most common rules they use as conflict solution of the rape issue to achieve quick resolution and peaceful agreement between the both sides (victims and perpetrators), it seems somehow extremely harmful for the victims, because it takes away the victim’s rights and could cause long-term emotional trauma, especially in the case of marriage between the victims and perpetrator and have no longer sustainability of their marriage.

However, the customary law does not become an effective law that can minimize incidents of rape within the communities, some communities believe customary law promote and facilitate the perpetrators to continue this harmful action and they described the punishment only happens to his clan, not to the perpetrators because of collection payment of compensation to the victim so they blame solving rape traditionally create some sort of social insurance for perpetrators to do gain and gain. Customary law was also described as creating a climate of impunity for GBV including rape crimes, as there was a lack of personal responsibility and punishment to act as a deterrent.

For these cases, the sexual offensive bill (rape bill) was drafted by local non-governmental organizations together with relevant line ministries of the Somaliland Government, lead by Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. This was done through facilitating public consultations and validation workshops that brought together lawyers, civil society, elders and religious leaders to discuss the contents to be in relation to social context.

The rape bill is based on the consultation by different stakeholders to create a legal framework to fight against an increasing rape cases in our country. The drafted bill would emphasize to end the impunity and violations caused by rape. However the Rape bill is also based on a comprehensive criminal code to find a systematic legal framework of justice to eradicate the harmful and aggressive behaviour of perpetrators, the sexual offensive bill is for long period with the parliament of Somaliland and still its  approve bending.

The rape is a serious concern that impacts the well-being and resiliency of our community across Somaliland, addressing of gender based violence, including rape, are need to be taken as national priority and one that impacts the development of our community as a whole, to respond increasing rape cases in our country, parliament of Somaliland should approve the sexual offensive bill, this will build up trust and integration of the communities for peacefully way and will ensure confidentiality of survivors to find justice system. Finally we urge the parliament to serve for their people that they represent and acknowledge the need for the voiceless to acquire justice for their burning issues and cases.

NAFIS in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA), Ministry of Religious affairs (MORA),

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NAFIS is the only national network fighting against FGM/C practice in Somaliland for the last 10 years. The network has been using different approaches to combat FGM/C issues basedon the nature of the interventions.

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On Thursday 8 December 2016, NAFIS organized one day of its 5th General Assembly - at HIDDO DHAWR TOURISM VILLAGE.

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Rape and other sexual abuse in all its different forms is a violation of human rights with long and short term negative effects on the victims and their families. These suffer physical, social, health and psychosocial complications

and in worst case scenarios some victims are murdered by the perpetrators while others die of injuries inflicted on them during assault.
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