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03.2009

Launching a campaign against Female Genital Mutilation

Run by: Hawlati and Rojnama Newspapers, Levin and Awenekan Magazines, Wadi Organization, Dangi Nwe Radio, Legal Aid for Women, Newa Radio

Driven by our moral responsibility to fight against the dreadful practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kurdistan, we have decided to launch a broad media campaign in our region. The media campaign will be conducted in parallel to an awareness campaign to engage the people in the struggle for ending and limiting this crime.

Over the past few years, there has been a wide range of news and discussions on FGM, coming from local as well as international media – reporting the existence of this practice as well as many other manifestations of violence against women. The widespread practice of those acts of violence and harmful traditional practices challenges the achievements of civil society organizations in our regions.

With this announcement we take the responsibility of exposing the unethical and unhealthy natures of practicing FGM in Kurdistan which has neither religious nor scientific grounds. This practice is against all human moral values in our time and it has detrimental consequences to the overall social relationships and in particularly to the cohesion and functioning of families.

The startling data about the widespread practice of FGM in Kurdistan is a warning sign to every conscientious and responsible mind. The fact that 97% of the girls and women in certain areas of Kurdistan are circumcised is shocking for all of us and now is the time to adopt a strong responsible position against the practice. It is the responsibility of the political authorities in the region to act seriously to eradicate this practice through introducing and enacting laws and legislations to legally ban FGM. The statistics about FGM is less frustrating and disappointing than the failure of the member of the Kurdistan Parliament in February 2008 to address the issue, due to what they claim is the embarrassing and sensitive nature of FGM. That failure led to neglecting the draft legislation proposed to ban the practice in Kurdistan. The embarrassment of the representatives of the people to protect and defend the rights of their constituents to a healthier and better life is dreadful in nature.

We hereby announce the launching of a 10 days media-campaign, to take place between 12-4 and 22-4-2009. The activities implemented throughout the campaign are a contribution to awakening the Kurdish society to the negative consequences of FGM; advance the legislation of laws and regulations against it; and engage the authorities in combating this harmful traditional practice. We call on every human-liking person to join and share with us the responsibility for ending this practice. Spending large sums of money for conference and seminars about violence against women is no replacement for taking real action against the harmful practices like FGM, which still persist in Kurdistan.

The Group for Campaigning Against FGM
Sulaimani 12.04.2009