Despite there being more and more resistance to the barbaric procedure, the practice of female genital mutilation, or circumcision, is still carried out in Somalia, usually before a girl reaches puberty and becomes mature enough to refuse.
As reported by CNN, two sisters, 10-year-old Aasiyo Abdi Warsame and 11-year-old Khadijo, died a day after being forced to have the procedure in the remote village of Arawda in Puntland State on September 11.
Hawa Aden Mohamed, the director of the Somalia’s women’s rights group Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development, says the sisters were cut by the same local circumciser on the same day. The girls had continued to bleed after the procedure, and after 24 hours, their mother tried to take them to a local hospital. Tragically, they didn’t get as far as the hospital, with both sisters passing away on the way.
The deaths occurred two months after the Somali government agreed to prosecute in the case of another 10-year-old girl who died after the procedure was carried out on her. Deeqa Dahir Nuur had been subjected to the practice in July in its most extreme form, and doctors who tried to save her at a hospital said she suffered multiple complications as a result.
Aden Mohamed, who survived the procedure as a young girl, continues to campaign against the torment that they still undergo as a result of an outdated tradition in the country.
“It is another sad story coming even before the dust settles and action is taken in the Deeqa case. Yet there seems to be reluctance in discussing and passing the anti-FGM law. We hope that this will serve as a wake-up call for those responsible to see the need to have the law in place to protect girls from this heinous practice.”
Somalia has the highest rate of female genital mutilation in the world, according to statistics provided by the United Nations, with “98% of women between the ages 15 and 49” having undergone the procedure. Worldwide, the organization estimates approximately 200 million members of the fairer sex are affected by the practice.
The procedure can cause severe bleeding, and can lead to life-threatening infections and infertility in women. Some women who have been circumcised also experience major complications during childbirth, often resulting in their deaths.
Internationally, female circumcision is recognized as a human rights violation of girls and women, but is still practiced in many African countries, despite polls showing more than 50 percent of the affected population want it abolished.