Iraq’s Kurdish areas prepare to ban female circumcision
ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) — Parliament in Iraq’s northern autonomous region of Kurdistan is preparing to outlaw female circumcision, according to a woman MP and doctor who has long battled to halt the widespread practice.
“A bill making circumcision illegal will be presented in parliament over the next few days,” Dr Hala Suheil told AFP, saying it would impose jail terms and fines on offenders.
UNICEF, the UN children’s fund, regards “female genital mutilation” as “one of the most persistent, pervasive and silently endured human rights violations.”
Kurdistan health minister Zarian Abdel Rahman said that in the region “60 percent of girls aged four to fourteen undergo circumcision, despite warnings by ministers against this grievous practice committed in the name of religion and hygiene.”
He was speaking on Friday at a three-day conference on violence towards women, held in Arbil, capital of the province of the same name, 350 kilometres (219 miles) north of Baghdad.
Circumcision involves the partial or complete removal of the female external genitals. It can cause death through haemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth.
It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.