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50 girls hospitalised due to FGM in Burkina Faso

PICTURED: Some of the blunt and dirty tool used to carry out female genital mutilation (FGM)

LONDON-based African women’s organisation, FORWARD, have said they're "outraged and deeply saddened" that 50 girls have been hospitalised after being subjected to ‘botched’ female genital mutilation in Kaya, in Burkina Faso (West Africa).

According to the BBC, two women, along with some of the girls’ relatives, have been arrested. However, not all the girls who were cut have been traced, the minister of women’s affairs, Laurence Marshall Ilboudo said.

The procedure is reported to have been carried out in Kaya, north-east of the capital, Ouagadougou.

FORWARD believes one girl undergoing this grave human rights abuse is one too many, yet in Kaya 50 girls have been hospitalised. What makes it even more disheartening is that Burkina Faso has legislation against FGM and has had since 1996 which criminalises anyone performing, arranging or otherwise aiding FGM.

In a statement, FORWARD said "they know that legislation alone will not end FGM as it is an ingrained social norm, and only though extensive community engagement and strict enforcement of existing laws will this abuse end."

In light of the need to protect girls and young women from all forms of VAWG including FGM, FORWARD calls on:
-The Burkinabe diaspora and mothers, fathers and affected communities in Burkina Faso to stand up against FGM,
-The Burkinabe government to enforce their laws and prosecute all those involved in the FGM of these 50 girls. 50 girls whose lives have been put at risk and whose futures may be filled with health and mental health issues because of this.

"We need the international community to understand that FGM does not just affect girls in ‘far away’ countries like Burkina Faso, but also affects women and girls right here in the UK," the charity continued. "This shocking report is a reminder to governments, professionals and communities that we need to continue efforts to ensure more girls do not undergo a similar fate and that adequate services are provided for those who have already been affected.

"On International Day for the Girl Child 2018 (October 11th) let us all recommit ourselves to take an action [no matter how small] to protect girls from FGM worldwide."

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