Liberia: Calls for Urgent Action against FGM

Female Genital Mutilation

The harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) has continued in Liberia despite the country’s council of chiefs and elders moving against the practice.

Development Diaries reports that a nationwide ban was imposed by the Chairperson of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders in Liberia (NACCEL), Zanzan Kawor, in February 2023 to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance against FGM in Sonkay Town.

However, in a recent two-day gender-sensitive report training on FGM for journalists, which was organised by UN Women, its Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, stressed the urgency of enacting legislation to curb the practice.

In Liberia, FGM prevalence rate among women between the ages of 15 and 49 is 38.2 percent, according to the 2019 Demographic Health Survey in Liberia.

It is understood that the practice is considerably more prevalent among women who live in rural areas (52.3 percent) than those in urban areas (29.9 percent).

Liberia remains one of the few African countries without legislation criminalising FGM, despite having signed and ratified numerous human rights instruments that denounce the practice as a violation of human rights, including the Maputo Protocol.

Lamptey acknowledged that there is still much work to be done to eradicate this practice permanently and emphasised the need for legal measures, education, and empowerment efforts.

As girls approach the age of 18, they may still face societal pressure to undergo FGM to maintain their community standing.

Development Diaries therefore calls on lawmakers in Liberia to hasten the establishment of a law against the practice of FGM to protect the rights of women and girls in the country.

Photo source: DFID


About the Author