The Inter Religious Council of Uganda-IRCU has thrown its weight behind efforts to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation in Uganda.
Addressing hundreds of people at Kapchorwa Boma Grounds on Sunday in his capacity as the IRCU chairperson during at the Anti FGM marathon organised by Church of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, the Mufti of Uganda, said IRCU is united against FGM.
“FGM is against God’s order of creation” he said. In 2015, Uganda passed the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence Policy, whose major aim was to end all forms of violence including Female Genital Mutilation, a tradition practiced among the Tepeth, Pokot and Sabiny of Karamoja and Sebei in North Eastern and Eastern Uganda respectively.
Despite several interventions to eliminate FGM, the practice has remained remarkably persistent in some isolated communities in Uganda. “With continued support from government and development partners such as the UN family, the advocacy and social mobilisation against FGM has partly been successful,” Sheikh Mubaje said.
He however, noted that some communities still practice FGM in hiding and across the border in Kenya. Sheikh Mubaje expressed concern that FGM is practiced on young girls in their early adolescence, saying it is a form of gender based violence that infringes on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls and undermines their dignity.
He said IRCU favors an approach that will empower communities to decide for themselves to abandon the practice. “IRCU members will utilize their structures in affected regions to organise community dialogues and educational forums for parents so that the issue of FGM is widely discussed and consensus is reached on locally acceptable solutions to eliminate the practice,” he said.
Adding that “Special prayer days will be dedicated to deliver messages against FGM and urge congregations to respect and protect the dignity of women in society.” Speaking at the same event, the Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali asked the Sebei Community to find an alternative to Female Genital Mutilation as a rite of passage, saying it is traumatizing.
“The Sabiny people have a rich culture…we appreciate it and ask the elders to preserve it but to shun FGM, which traumatizes the lives of women and girls,” he said. He noted that since Church of Uganda launched the anti-FGM marathon in 2015 as a community mobilization tool in partnership with UNFPA, 15 communities in Sebei region have abandoned the practices although there are pockets of isolated incidents.
He noted that since Church of Uganda launched the anti-FGM marathon in 2015 as a community mobilization tool in partnership with UNFPA, 15 communities in Sebei region have abandoned the practices although there are pockets of isolated incidents.