Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter of Action

10 December 2009

Kenya ratified the UN Convention on the rights of the child on 31 July 1990. Kenya has also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and other international instruments that generally affect the rights of the child such as the International Bill of Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Kenya ratified the Convention
against Torture on 21 February 1997.

Last week in the North Rift region of Kenya, two pregnant girls were forcefully circumcised in Pokot Central District as the season for the rite got under way.
According to the chairperson of Setat Women Organization, Ms Lilian Plapan, the girls aged 15 and 16 years were circumcised during the weekend in Kaptabuk village in preparation for their forced marriages.

Some 140 under-age girls have been circumcised in the larger West Pokot District since the season started last week. Anti-FGM crusaders have reported that 30 girls have been circumcised in Kapenguria and Kong’elai, 48 in Alale and Kiwawa, and 66 in Chesegon and Sigor.

In a related development, an organization that fights the practice of FGM has written to the United Nations to ask them to force the government to intervene and save over 350 girls expected to undergo Female Genital Mutilation in North Rift this season.

The executive director of the Inter-African Committee (IAC) on traditional practices, Ms Berhane Ras-Work, said the State should take action against circumcisers. “By this letter, we would like to appeal to you to stop this gruesome ritual,” she said.

The former Kenyan minister of Gender Alicen Chelaite told the Global Ambassador for fighting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Lucy Mashua on phone 10 December 2009, that “if the West will intervene, the Kenyan Government can STOP FGM.”
Human Rights Day is December 10th. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay calls on individuals worldwide to make an extra effort to tackle discrimination starting from their own homes and workplaces. “Complacency is discrimination’s best friend,” said human rights chief Navi Pillay.

As a concerned world citizen, I plead with you not to be complacent, but to intervene on the behalf of these innocent children. This practice is a clear violation of the human rights of the victims. It is furthermore torture, discrimination against girls and women and a violation of the UN convention on the rights of the child. The time is now to speak out and take action to spare the lives of these young girls.