On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Wadi will be hosting a conference for press and interested public in Erbil under the heading of “Eliminating FGM in Kurdistan”.
Suleymaniah, February 4th 2022
Several activists will discuss progress and challenges of the campaign to eradicate FGM and provide latest updates on the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraq.
Latest numbers give evidence that in Halabja province, FGM is not practiced any more. In 2020, Wadi was able to declare that there were no new FGM cases recorded in Garmyan. So the region could be considered FGM-free. Now the same became true for Halabja. In other regions, there is still work to do, and Wadi’s capacities are limited. Hence, Wadi has been calling on other actors, be it local activist organizations, international organizations or UN bodies, to step in and boost the efforts.
Wadi’s comprehensive campaign against FGM has proven more than once that this practice can be eradicated within a decade, if the campaign is conducted (a) long-term and non-stop, (b) on the ground and face-to-face with each and everyone, including community leaders, in a trustful and cooperative atmosphere, culturally sensitive, but never compromising.
The role of men is crucial. Men have to be included in the campaign and involved in the discussions as much as possible. Sometimes, this can be challenging because FGM is traditionally seen as „women’s matter“. Some men are not even aware of the existence of this practice. An experienced male coordinator will report.
A female colleague will report from Erbil, where FGM is still practiced. Parts of the society in Erbil are more conservative and traditional. They believe FGM should continue because they consider it part of their identity. Strategies to combat FGM must be adapted to the circumstances and mentalities on the ground. The team member will explain details.
Finally, the public will hear about the situation beyond Iraqi Kurdistan, in Central and South Iraq. In contrast to the Kurdish Region, FGM is not legally banned in Iraq, and there are no campaigns and no awareness. More public discussions, media coverage and a campaign for a legal ban are urgently needed.
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