“End Female Genital Mutilation For Minors” -Teen Age Group, says “It is Inconsistent With AU Charter on Children’s right”

A teenage based group, “Girls Alliance for Future Leadership” is calling on the Liberian government to fulfil its obligation to the African Union by respecting the treaty it signed to respect, protect, and promote the rights of Children, stressing that Female Genital Mutilation should be  outlawed in the country for girls 18 and under.

Addressing a press conference on Friday, June 10, 2022 at the headquarters of the Press Union of Liberia, the Advocacy Officer of the group, Kadiatu Bah, told the media she finds it difficult to believe that Liberia, the venue for the drafting of the OAU Charter on Human and People’s Rights can blatantly ignore its responsibility to such international instrument it helped to craft. Ms. Bah noted that the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, at its Sixteenth Ordinary Session in Monrovia, Liberia, from July 17 to 20, 1979, recognized the need to take appropriate measures to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the African Child.

She wondered whether members of both chambers of the national legislature ignored the provision in Article 1.3 of the AU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of children which states, “Any custom, tradition, cultural or religious practice that is inconsistent with the rights, duties and obligations contained in the present Charter shall by the extent of such inconsistency be discouraged,” to have capped Female Genital Mutilation as the sacred rites of their traditional leaders.

The young advocate wants the President and the legislature to revisit the Domestic Violence Bill passed into law 2019 to include the barring of FGM for kids in Liberia. Ms. Bah said FGM has health implication, it is a menace that is having huge toll on the Liberian girls’ Children, a justified pipeline for Child bride, and is inconsistent with the ECOWAS-AU treaty on the rights of Children.

The teenage group advocacy officer expressed disappointment at former Senator Peter Coleman who at the time of the passage of the bill into law remarked that he and his colleagues considered Female Genital Mutilation as the sacred religious rite of their traditional leaders, adding, it is sad that the senator ignored his many years of practice as a medical doctor to please his supporters.

The Girls Alliance Press Conference comes ahead of this year’s celebration of the Day of the African Child (DAC), celebrated the world over on June 16 each year. The event is in commemoration of the 1976, Soweto massacre in South Africa, where over 100 school kids were killed in cold blood by the then Apartheid regime.

The theme for this year’s DAC is “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy & Practice since 2013”. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, established under Articles 32 and 33 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, selected the theme for 2022 commemoration.

This year’s program will be held at the St. Peter Lutheran School in Sinkor, Monrovia.

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