Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • Liberia shuts all schools as Ebola virus spreads

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Africa

A painful fight against a painful practice

Video by Richard TOMPSETT

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-03-08

Even as the world focuses on women's rights on International Women's Day, the cruel, excruciating practice of female genital mutilation continues in some parts of Africa such as Uganda. (WARNING: IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING)

In a village in eastern Uganda’s Bukwo district, a group of young girls are smeared in a mixture of ash and mud.


It’s a sign of beauty, but it’s also a marker for a gruesome ceremony to come.


One by one, the girls, some as young as 8 years old, fall to the ground, and are circumcised in public - as the villagers look on. The process is excruciatingly painful. But locals say experiencing the pain is part of the ritual, a passage to womanhood.


Women across the world are commemorating International Women’s Day on Sunday. But as the international community focuses on women’s rights, in some parts of the world, the cruel, dangerous practice of female genital mutilation is still being practised.


Despite campaigns against the practice, female genital mutilation is particularly widespread in parts of Africa.


‘This ensures respect for the family’


In these parts, it’s a cultural practice that is not only upheld by society, but by older women in particular.


“I've been circumcising for 25 years,” says Agnes Chebet, the circumciser. “Through me, people know if the girl is a virgin or not. This ensures respect for the family.”


Internationally though, the practice has long been condemned as unnecessary and brutal.


While it's much less of a problem in the cities, the practice remains widespread especially in the rural areas.


Doctors say there's a grave risk of infection and that women can be traumatised for life.


"We know that this is a sensitive part in the human genitalia, so when it is removed, or cut off brutally, these people may never enjoy their marriages,” says gynaecologist, Tony Mulumba.


For the past decade, the World Health Organisation has been pushing for an end to female genital mutilation. In Africa alone, it estimates as many as three million women and girls are at risk each year.

Date created : 2009-03-07

COMMENT(S)