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AFRO-NETS> GENITAL MUTILATION: Aid Group Caught in Controversy (5)
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> GENITAL MUTILATION: Aid Group Caught in Controversy (5)
- From: Odile Mendel <Odile_MENDEL@london.msf.org>
- Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 13:41:00 -0400 (EDT)
GENITAL MUTILATION: Aid Group Caught in Controversy (5)
The article mentioned last week on AFRO-NETS (The Observer, 22nd Au-
gust) seriously misrepresented Medecins Sans Frontieres' position on
female genital mutilation (FGM).
MSF never knowingly provides surgical instruments for FGM to take
place, nor do MSF staff take part in circumcision ceremonies. MSF is
opposed to any form of FGM because it causes unnecessary suffering and
is a violation of human rights.
We agree with the World Health Organization that the practice is unac-
ceptable even under sterile conditions. The so-called 'medicalisation'
of the procedure would not prevent many of the serious health conse-
quences and is no less of a violation of human rights.
If there is any "Western pragmatism" involved in our approach, it is
rather in our realisation that strident campaigning can be counter-
productive in societies where the practice is deeply ingrained. In-
stead, we support local initiatives against FGM and place a strong em-
phasis on its dire consequences in the training of local health staff
and traditional midwives.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, UK
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