10-year-old Somali girl dies after female genital mutilation

In this file photo, people attend a community meeting to discuss female genital mutilation (FGM) in a village on the outskirts of Hargeysa, Somalia. (AFP)
Updated 20 July 2018
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10-year-old Somali girl dies after female genital mutilation

  • A 10-year-old girl has bled to death after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, an activist said.
  • The girl died in a hospital two days after her mother took her to a traditional circumciser in a remote village outside Dhusamareb town in central Galmudug state.

JOHANNESBURG: A 10-year-old girl has bled to death after undergoing female genital mutilation in Somalia, an activist said, a rare confirmed death in the country with the world’s highest rate of the practice.
The girl died in a hospital on Monday, two days after her mother took her to a traditional circumciser in a remote village outside Dhusamareb town in central Galmudug state, Hawa Aden Mohamed with the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development said in a statement.
“The circumciser is suspected to cut an important vein in the course of the operation,” Mohamed said.
About 98 percent of women and girls in the Horn of Africa nation undergo female genital mutilation, according to the United Nations. While Somalia’s constitution prohibits the practice, Mohamed said no laws have been enacted to ensure that those who perform the circumcisions are punished.
Lawmakers are “afraid of losing their political clout among the all-powerful conservative traditional and religious groups bent at retaining the practice,” she said.
Health workers have warned against the risks of the practice which in most cases the external genitalia is removed and the vagina is sewn almost closed.
Despite campaigns in Somalia against the practice it is “clouded in secrecy, so reducing it has been a massive challenge,” said Brendan Wynne with the New York-based Donor Direct Action, which connects women’s activists worldwide.
Over 200 million women and girls in 30 countries across three continents have experienced genital mutilation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this year, calling it a “gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.”
The UN Population Fund projects that the estimated 3.9 million girls subjected to genital cutting every year will rise to 4.6 million by 2030 due to expected population growth unless urgent action is taken.


Peace talks postponed as Taliban objects to size of Afghan delegation

Updated 48 min 26 sec ago
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Peace talks postponed as Taliban objects to size of Afghan delegation

  • Afghan delegates scheduled to fly to Doha on Thursday were told the trip was postponed and new dates were being discussed
  • The Taliban have repeatedly refused to meet President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which they call a puppet regime

KABUL: A meeting between the Taliban and Afghan politicians and civil society aimed at ending more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan has been postponed, officials and diplomats said on Thursday, citing Taliban objections to the size of the Afghan delegation.
The talks were set to begin on Friday in Doha, but a senior government official in Kabul said “the gathering has been called off for now and details were being reworked.”
Afghan delegates scheduled to fly to the Qatari capital on Thursday were told the trip was postponed and new dates were being discussed, a western diplomat in Kabul said.
“The government will have to change the composition of the delegation to make this meeting happen,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said leaders of the hard-line Islamist group were uncomfortable with the size of the Afghan delegation and its composition.
“Presence of some participants was completely against the list of what was agreed upon,” Mujahid told Reuters over phone, adding that the delegation included Afghans working for the government.
The Taliban have repeatedly refused to meet President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which they call a puppet regime, but have held several rounds of peace talks with US officials.
Ghani said Wednesday the 250-member Afghan delegation included some government officials attending in a personal capacity. But the group did not include some of the most powerful figures in Afghan politics, who are reluctant to join forces with Ghani ahead of presidential elections due in September.