EU Ambassador Wants FGM Abolished -Says It Is Harmful To Girls, Outdated

MONROVIA – The Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse has called for the abolition of female genital mutilation (FGM), otherwise called female circumcision in the Liberian parlance because according to him it is harmful to girls and has outlived its usefulness with the evolution of time.

Ambassador Delahousse made the statement on Wednesday, February 3, 2022 in Gbarnga, Bong County, when he addressed  a program organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to mark this year’s celebration of the International Day Against Feminine Genital Mutilation where he noted that though tradition is very important to every society and must be respected , it does not mean that traditions are immobile or cast in stone, but must evolve with times and change with the people.

“Because if traditions want to continue in the future, they must evolve. When traditions are harmful, when traditions are wrong, when traditions are illegal, they must evolve. Today FGM is not necessary anymore for tradition. It is harmful for little girls. It deprives them of the full potential of their womanhood, the torture of the act itself and its consequences on health, sometimes in mental health… It must stop”, he said..

Ambassador Delahousse said Feminine Genital Mutilation is a tradition in many countries around the world and in many counties in Liberia adding that among the 28 African countries where FGM is widespread, only 5 have not yet adopted legislation to criminalize it, including Liberia.

“You do not need to cut a girl to make her a woman. You do not need to cut a girl to make her a law-abiding, contributing, powerful, successful member of the community. You do not need to cut a girl for her to love her husband, to love her family, to be a good mother, to be a good member and to earn the respect of the community. Today you do not need to cut the girls. This must be a thing of the past”, the UN top diplomat lamented.

Ambassador Delahousse who was also at the Kpatawee Falls for World Wetlands Day and for a National Tourism Dialogue, said that the European Union is particularly proud to finance the Spotlight program, which is implemented through the United Nations and contributes to the fight for the rights of Women and against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

While agreeing that the Sande and the Poro Societies have important roles to play in the cultural history of Liberia in the upbringing of little girls, young women, and little boys and young men as the practices are lineages to the past, culture, in the history of Liberia, in the upbringing of little girls, young women, little boys and young men, they must also evolve just as much as education has evolved along centuries. “What children in schools, students in universities learn today is different from what they were taught 100, 50 or even 10 years ago. The practices that are implemented by the societies, by the traditional schools and upbringing must adapt to today’s world”, he said.

“Let us move on to a future where little girls do not have to go through FGM to become women. Let us reflect on what being a modern woman, a member of the community, an active citizen of the State can be without this trauma of cutting. Men do not need to be wary of their wives not being cut. Most societies of the world are stable, have families which are loving and caring and faithful without FGM. Most societies of the world have communities that are tightly knit together, where people find their place in society without having to go through this. It is time to move on.

“It is hurtful to little girls, it is something that must be written in the past, because your traditions are too important, too central for being who you are”, he concluded.

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