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West African First Ladies to Join Fight Against Female Circumcision

by VR Sreeraman on October 13, 2008 at 1:42 PM
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 West African First Ladies to Join Fight Against Female Circumcision

First ladies from seven west African countries gather here Monday for a conference on ways to end female circumcision, a widespread practise in the region despite efforts to end it.

The three-day meeting will "discuss transboundary practices of circumcision in the region to better fight against the scourge," presidential spokesman Saidou Ouedraogo said.

First ladies from the west African countries of Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo and Burkina Faso are due to participate, he said.

Female circumcision, or female genital mutilation (FGM), is common in some 30 African countries despite major awareness-raising campaigns and ever-tougher laws against the practise.

Burkina Faso is a case in point. Nearly half the country's women are circumcised according to a national committee on the issue.

The tradition continues despite new legislation stipulating prison sentences against FGM practitioners and their accomplices.

Source: AFP

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