NAIROBI, Nov 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Kenya’s president on Tuesday promised to end female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2022, a goal women’s rights campaigners said was unrealistic due to insecurity and high prevalence rates in some parts of the east African nation.
One in five women and girls aged between 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia and can cause a host of serious health problems, according to the United Nations.
Kenya outlawed the practice eight years ago, but it continues as some communities believe it is necessary for social acceptance and increases marriage prospects.
“Kenya commits to eliminate female genital mutilation by 2022,” President Uhuru Kenyatta told a global conference on sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of a series of commitments made by governments at the event.
“In addition, the country will eliminate all forms of gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030 through the strengthening of coordination mechanisms and by addressing cultural norms that propagate these practices,” he added.
An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM.