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Jakarta Post

Calls mount for government to retract support for FGM

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 28, 2014   /  10:22 am

A coalition of NGOs demanded the government ban female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation or FGM.

The group said that the practice was rampant despite laws and several international conventions, which had been ratified by the government, regulating otherwise.

Kalyanamitra, Watch Indonesia! and Berlin-based Terre Des Femmes said the practice violated the 1999 Human Rights Law; 2002 Child Protection Law; 2004 Domestic Violence Law; 2009 Health Law; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.

'€œEvery year, there are 2 million women in Indonesia who are circumcised and 92 percent of families support this practice. We want the President and the health minister to abolish this because the legitimizing of the practice validates the misogynist view of female sexuality,'€ Joko Sulistyo from Kalyanamitra said.

The group said that situation could get worse in the future because the government had in fact issued a Health Ministry Regulation in 2010 that sanctioned female genital circumcision procedures.

The coalition blasted the regulation as it gave medical personnel the authority to circumcise girls as long as it was safe.

'€œNo one can guarantee that this practice is without risk. Sometimes, it is even included in birth packages alongside medical examination, ear piercing and vaccines. This is a violation of human rights,'€ he said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), FGM refers to procedures that intentionally injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Rather than the practice having health benefit it can cause severe bleeding and urination problems.

It may even lead to complications during childbirth, resulting in higher risks of newborn deaths, WHO has said.

About 100 million to 140 million girls and women worldwide suffered from reproductive problems caused by FGM, it said in its latest report in 2013.

Indonesia along with countries in Africa and the Middle East have the highest number of FGM cases.

The organizations demanded the government comprehensively implement laws and conventions that criminalized FGM and punish anyone or any party that conducted the practice.

'€œWe want the government to prohibit any institution that campaigns, promotes or offers the practice,'€ Joko said, adding that the government needed to increase public awareness on the dangers of FGM.

In January last year, The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) fought a United Nation'€™s campaign to ban female circumcision, demanding the government keep the practice legal.

'€œCircumcision is a part of Islamic teaching and is recommended for both male and female,'€ MUI deputy secretary-general Amirsyah Tambunan said.

'€” JP/Nurfika Osman

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