Somaliland commemorates anti-FGM Day

13 February 2017
Commemorating anti-FGM Day in Somaliland

Somaliland on 6 February commemorated the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) together with civil society organisations with support from UNFPA and UNICEF. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs led the commemorative event.

FGM is internationally recognized as a human rights violation. UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. In 2012, the UN General Assembly designated 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. This day is observed to enhance awareness of the issue and to encourage concrete actions against the practice.

At the commemorative event, which took place at the Civil Service Institute in Hargeisa, Somaliland, stakeholders, including prominent government officials, civil society groups, traditional elders, women organisations as well as religious leaders, agreed to advocate for the approval of the FGM policy, which has been a draft for a while.

Mr. Hassan Dahir Dimbil, Vice Minister of Health, highlighted government’s commitment towards eliminating FGM in Somaliland.

The Vice Minister talked about the negative medical consequences of FGM. He said recent studies and reports are indicating that health professionals are participating in the medicalisation of FGM, which, he said, is going against efforts to eliminate the practice.

“Zero tolerance to FGM is the stand of the Ministry of Health. All stakeholders need to work together effectively to eliminate FGM,” said Mr. Dimbil.

Director of Gender and Family Affairs in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Ms. Luul Adam Geedi highlighted the commitment of her ministry in advocating for the elimination of FGM.

“There is a long process ahead in the efforts towards the elimination of this harmful practice,” said Ms. Geedi. She said the FGM policy, supported by UNFPA, has been in a draft form for a while because key line ministries were not effectively involved in the process.

The Director General in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Mr. Mohamed Elmi said there was need for a well-proven commitment towards the approval of the FGM policy and coordination between line ministries so that the Somaliland government and local communities own the initiative.

Mr. Elmi pledged effective leadership for the elimination of the harmful practice. He appreciated the support of UN agencies and civil society in the fight against FGM.

Director General in the Ministry of Religion Shiekh Sullieman Sa’ed Ali explained that religious dialogue sessions have been carried out in the region with civil society groups, women activists and health professionals in understanding the magnitude of the problem. He has also accepted full leadership with other line ministries and promised to declare Fatwa when all relevant discussions are documented.

Traditional elders and civil society groups also declared full support for the elimination of all forms of FGM.



For more information please contact UNFPA Somalia Communications Specialist Pilirani Semu-Banda on e-mail: [email protected]