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Sebei Leaders Call for Amendments to FGM Act in Uganda

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In Sebei sub-region, Eastern Uganda, local leaders are requesting the government to revise the current Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Act of 2010. The aim is to simplify the process of prosecuting those responsible for this practice.

Mr. Moris Kiplangat, a senior community development officer at Bukwo District local government, believes that although FGM cases have reduced significantly, there are still challenges preventing its complete eradication, primarily due to shortcomings in the existing law.

He points out that the FGM Act does not offer protection to whistleblowers, discouraging individuals from reporting cases. According to Mr. Kiplangat, the law imposes penalties on those witnessing and following the group of mutilators, creating a lack of protection for potential whistleblowers.

Similarly, Mr. FredMark Chesang, the Sipi regional police public relations officer, notes that law enforcement officers face difficulties in obtaining substantial evidence required by the Act, giving perpetrators opportunities to evade prosecution. The secretive nature of the practice makes it challenging to provide the necessary evidence, such as fresh genital samples.

Mr. Samuel Francis Ononge, the Action Aid International project officer overseeing the UNFPA project in Sebei sub-region, adds that porous borders and poverty have hindered efforts to combat FGM. He mentions that individuals who take girls to Kenya for mutilation receive monetary incentives, further complicating the fight against FGM.

To address these issues, local leaders are calling for increased political will and improved access to education, which would boost literacy levels in the region. These measures are seen as essential steps in curbing the practice of FGM.

Female Genital Mutilation involves the cutting of female genitals and is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. In Uganda, this practice is common among the Sabiny in Kapchorwa, Bukwo, and Kween districts, as well as the Pokot, Tepeth, and Kadam in Nakapiripit and Amudat districts.