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10-Year-Old Somali Girl Dies After Female Genital Mutilation

A 10-year-old Somali girl named Deeqa Dahir Nuur died two days after her mother took her to a traditional circumciser to undergo the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, otherwise known as FGM.

FGM is a controversial traditional practice that happens around the world with absolutely no health benefits. It can cause many issues such as severe bleeding, infections, infertility, and complications in childbirth.

After investigations, Somalia announced that it plans to prosecute the circumciser.

“We are going to prosecute on this straight away,” Attorney General Ahmed Ali Dahir said at a press conference.

Nuur was taken on July 14 to the cutter in a village outside Dhusmareb in the state of Galmudug. After the family was unable to stem the hemorrhaging caused by the cutter, Nuur was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.

Pretty Litter

“The circumciser is suspected to cut an important vein in the course of the operation,” said Hawa Aden Mohamed with the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development.

Nuur was one of many who undergo the practice of FGM in Somalia, as the nation has the highest rate of the practice. According to the United Nations, about 98 percent of girls and women in the nation undergo FGM. UNICEF states that the majority of girls receiving FGM in Somalia are between the ages of five and nine.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, over 200 million women and girls across 30 countries and 3 continents have been victims of FGM. Guterres called the act a “gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.”

Although Somalia’s constitution prohibits FGM, no laws have been enacted to stop the practice. Nuur’s case will be one of the first to be prosecuted by the government.

Lawmakers are “afraid of losing their political clout among the all-powerful conservative traditional and religious groups bent at retaining the practice,” Mohamed said.

After Nuur’s death, Somali authorities and government officials hope to send the message that the acceptance of the practice of FGM must end. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guuled said that Nuur’s death would send a “stern warning.”

“This is an historic moment for ending FGM in Somalia. This cannot be happening in our country in the 21st century. It is not part of our religion, and it will not be part of our culture,” Mohamed Guuled said at a conference organized by Global Media Campaign to End FGM in Mogadishu.

Nuur’s case was one of the most severe. A doctor who tired to save her told CNN that the young girl suffered one of the most extreme cases of FGM he had ever seen.

“I have never seen this kind of mutilation. And I have treated many bad FGM cases here because it is so common. She was bleeding and convulsing. We tried to save her, but she died an hour later,” said Dr. Abdirahman Omar Hassan.

The United Nations estimates that 3.9M girls are subjected to genital cutting every year. By 2030, they estimate the trend will rise to 4.6M every year due to population growth unless “urgent action is taken.”

To learn more about FGM and other global issues, visit our “Be Informed” page on the NYMM website.

Featured Image by Victor Nnakwe on Unsplash

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