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.


Indian court eases firecracker ban even as pollution soars

Updated 59 min 30 sec ago
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Indian court eases firecracker ban even as pollution soars

  • Diwali festival is on November 7
  • Every winter, air pollution in Delhi soars as cooler air traps harmful particles from the various emissions

NEW DELHI: India’s top court on Tuesday eased a ban on fireworks for a major Hindu festival despite air pollution in New Delhi and other cities again reaching danger levels.
The Supreme Court, which last year banned firecrackers for the Diwali festival, rejected a new call for a ban in the capital amidst growing concern over pollution.
Firecrackers set off for the Hindu festival of lights add to the toxic mix created by farmers burning crop stubble, diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and industrial emissions.
The World Health Organization in May listed 14 Indian cities, including Delhi, in the world’s top 15 with the dirtiest air.
Ahead of Diwali on November 7, the Supreme Court ordered that only reduced smoke fireworks — so-called ‘green firecrackers’ — could be sold and that this must be through licensed traders. No fireworks can be sold online, it said.
The court has also set a two hour window from 8:00pm to 10:00pm for the lighting of crackers on Diwali.
“It needs to be enforced strictly,” Gopal Sankarnarayan, a lawyer for the petitioners told NDTV television.
Last year, the Supreme Court suspended the licenses of all firecracker sellers in Delhi for one month because of the pollution crisis which leaves the Indian capital’s 20 million residents gasping for clean air during the winter months.
However, many ignored the ban and purchased crackers illegally or brought out old stocks.
Every winter, air pollution in Delhi soars as cooler air traps harmful particles from the various emissions.
Smog has climbed in recent weeks as temperatures have fallen and smoke from burning wheat fields in neighboring states has reached the capital, mingling with urban pollutants.