Following tragic death of three… FAHP calls for nationwide suspension of FGM initiations

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Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of FAHP & Human Rights Commission’s rep on the high table

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

In response to the recent tragic deaths of three girls connected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP)  has  urged  the government to suspend all Bondo Society (FGM/C) initiations nationwide.

The organization also called on key entities, including the Human Rights Commission, the National Council of Paramount Chiefs, and Soweis, to address the negative effects of this practice.

Hannah F Yambasu, Deputy Chairperson of FAHP, expressed deep sorrow over the tragic events, emphasising that the deceased girls could have been potential leaders in society.

Despite the challenges, Yambasu affirmed the unwavering commitment of FAHP to combat harmful practices, particularly FGM, which has claimed the lives of numerous girls.

Reading from a press statement, Rugiatu Neneh Turay provided background information on FAHP, a coalition of over 20 national NGOs established in 2014 to advocate for the reduction and elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs), including FGM.

She said the coalition’s vision is to have Sierra Leone free from all forms of HTPs, and its mission involves speaking against HTPS to ensure the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls.

The organization expressed deep sadness and grave concern over the deaths of three girls in Kambia and Port Loko districts, after undergoing FGM initiation. The girls, including 13-year-old Salaymatu Jalloh and 17-year-old Kadiatu Bangura, faced tragic ends due to the FGM procedure.

Another case was reported in Port Loko District, where a 12-year-old girl, Adamsay Sesay, passed away after initiation, with intelligence reports suggesting eleven children were still held in the Bondo Shrine.

FAHP requested a thorough investigation into the deaths of the girls.

The coalition highlighted the urgent need to shift from an ‘age of consent’ approach to total abandonment and advocated for a ban on FGM. FAHP emphasized promoting the Alternative Rite of Passage (Bloodless Rite) as a more humane alternative.

The press statement concluded with FAHP extending condolences to the families of the deceased girls.

Executive Secretary of FAHP, Aminata Koroma said as a coalition consisting of 26 organizations, FAHP continues to work collaboratively to end Female Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone, recognizing the imperative need for collective efforts in addressing harmful practices.

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