The prime minister of Somalia is taking a stand against the troubling practice of female genital mutilation.
Speaking with The Huffington Post, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke says he is “committed” to fighting the procedure that has affected nearly 95 percent of Somali girls. FGM is largely found in UK, Europe, and Africa, and involves the process of partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, mainly for non-medical reasons. The procedure results in excruciating pain, cysts, trouble during childbirth, and even death.
Sharmarke has teamed up with global organization Avaaz (meaning “voice”) to establish legislation and education about FGM following a petition to fight the process, which was signed by over a million people from all over the world.
“I’m committed to outlaw FGM in Somalia through legislation, advocacy, education and community engagement to confront the social norms that encourage the FGM practices within the society,” Sharmarke said earlier this month in response to a campaign launched by Avaaz, the organization told The Huffington Post.
The United Nations banned the act in 2012, but it has continued in Somalia, Liberia, Kenya, Iraq, Egypt and more countries, according to Forward. In August, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Human Rights announced a new law that would ban FGM entirely.
To find out more about FGM and how you can help, check out the petition here.