ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
FIDA Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation with the theme: “Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerating Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation.”
Female Genital Mutilation has a long standing physical and mental effect on the persons subjected to it.
The practice violates a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death
Nigeria as a member of the United Nations has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents. Hence, Nigeria is bound by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being”.
In addition, Section 34(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, provides that “every Nigerian individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly (a) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Furthermore, Section 11 of the Child Rights Act (2003) also protects the right to the dignity of the child while Section 6 of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, expressly prohibits female circumcision or genital mutilation.
There is no gainsaying that there are a plethora of statutes and laws in Nigeria that prohibit this harmful practice.
However, the issue that confronts us is the implementation of these laws. Laws are made to tackle and eliminate crime, but when not implemented, they become paper tigers. The Girl child and indeed women are major victims of this act often running away and seeking asylum
We as a people also need to realize that though the government owes us a responsibility to protect our rights, we also need to ensure we take action to safeguard these same rights. The perpetrators of this heinous crime are living amongst us. Young women and girls have suffered seriously as a result of this crime, it is time we all stand up against these practices. Men have lost their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to this harmful practice that many believe is a custom that must be upheld. NO tradition should be practiced to the detriment of our lives and loved ones.
As human beings, we have the right to choose what happens to our bodies, we have the right to abolish harmful traditional practices and to celebrate the noble and harmless ones. Lives can be preserved if we all including the young ones take a stand to make a difference. We can achieve all things if we act in unison and speak with one voice.
FIDA Nigeria as an organization that protects and promotes the rights of women in Nigeria in line with the theme calls the youths to action. The future we wish to see, starts today. The youth must take a stand and challenge the “norm” in their respective cultures. No more lives should be lost on account of our blind allegiance to a dreadful tradition.
FIDA Nigeria also calls on the government to implement the laws that have been enacted to prohibit Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria. Having taken the first step in abolishing the practice, government can and should take further steps to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime so it serves as a deterrent to others.
FIDA Nigeria will continue to do all within her mandate to fight against Female Genital Mutilation and work to ensure that women and children can live in a society free from this menace. We believe that every human life matters, and must be treated with respect and dignity.
FIDA NIGERIA stands against Female Genital Mutilation, let’s put an end to it.
Rhoda Prevail Tyoden
Country Vice President/National President
National publicity secretary