According to recent media reports and concurring reports from human rights activists, there have been reported several cases of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in Kuria. FGM affects about 3,000 girls annually in the community. With the ceremonies underway right now in some parts of the community, this poses a huge risk to young girls, especially with schools on holiday. With a likely potential of a rise in the number of girls undergoing the cut.
There have been reported cases of cross-border FGM along the Tanzania border and also emerging trends of door-to-door cutting. Some of the women and girls have been forcefully coerced to undergo the cut leading to physical injuries. The cut girls are also publicly paraded for the traditional celebrations. This amounts to a gross violation of human rights for the girls in the community.
There have been made efforts to address the situation including stepping up of temporary rescue centers in secondary schools. This has been through partners, government, and non-state actors working in the region.
However, the response has been faced with a number of challenges that threaten to see the number of cases rising. This includes door-to-door FGM where the cutter is invited to cut the girls secretly. The lack of an operational rescue center has posed a great threat to the girls who are at risk of undergoing FGM. There are also limited facilities and resources to cater to the girls at the temporary rescue centers.
There has also been a slow response from the police to coordinate rescue and arrests because of the violent crowds during the celebrations.
The recent surge in FGM cases poses a great threat to the girls and the community at large. Most of the cut girls are likely not to report back to school due to the nursing of wounds. Some will also drop out of school and also end up in child marriages. FGM also risks the loss of life.
Such a trend poses a significant threat to the development of the community. Increasing cases of school dropouts increased dependency and poverty.
The government of Kenya through president Kenyatta committed to ending FGM by 2022 and has also ratified treaties seeking to protect women and girls against any form of violation of human rights. Several laws and institutions have been set up to address FGM and protect girls and women.
The government through the police department should act fast to respond to FGM cases by fast-tracking the rescue of at-risk girls and arrest of perpetrators for legal action. The county and national government should also set aside emergency funds to respond to FGM; facilitate transport for rescued girls and facilitate temporary rescue centers to accommodate the cut girls.
The judiciary should also fast-track prosecution of the arrested persons for justice to be served. This will help respond to the rising cases of FGM in the Kuria community and protect the girls in the community.
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