March 25, 2024

Actionable legal framework needed to combat FGM in Africa – Advocate, Ekpecham

Actionable legal framework needed to combat FGM in Africa - Advocate, Ekpecham

By Etop Ekanem

A women empowerment advocate, Amaka Ekpecham, has emphasized the critical role that legal measures play in eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) and safeguarding the rights and well-being of women and girls across the continent.

She said this in a media briefing recently calling for the implementation of robust legal frameworks to combat FGM in Africa.

According to her, “genital mutilation remains a significant challenge in many African countries, perpetuated by deeply entrenched cultural beliefs and social norms. It poses severe physical, psychological, and sexual health consequences for its victims, often carried out without their consent. As such, the need for effective legal intervention to combat this practice cannot be overstated.”

Ekpecham underscored the importance of enacting and enforcing comprehensive legislation specifically targeting FGM, noting: “Legal frameworks are essential tools in the fight against FGM.. They provide a basis for holding perpetrators accountable and deter future instances of this harmful practice.”

Nigeria, Zambia and Malawi have made strides in addressing FGM through legislative measures. In Nigeria, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act criminalises various forms of violence, including FGM, while several states have passed laws specifically targeting the practice.

Similarly, Zambia’s Anti-Gender Based Violence Act and Malawi’s Gender Equality Act provide legal frameworks for combating FGM.

She said: “While the existence of legal frameworks is a crucial step forward, their effectiveness hinges on enforcement and widespread awareness. Collaboration between government agencies, civil society organizations, and communities is essential to ensure the successful implementation of these laws.”

The call for legal frameworks to combat FGM in Africa is imperative in addressing this harmful practice and upholding the rights of women and girls.

Ekpecham’s advocacy underscores the urgency of this issue and highlights the need for collective action to eradicate FGM and promote gender equality across the continent.