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FGM Remains an Illegal Practice in Kenya

Kenya’s high court upheld a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) in a landmark ruling on Wednesday welcomed by campaigners seeking to eradicate the internationally condemned procedure. The court was ruling on a petition seeking to legalize FGM on the grounds that the ban is unconstitutional and that adult women should be allowed to do what they want with their bodies. The petition was brought in 2017 by a female doctor, Tatu Kamau, who said that women were being harassed and arrested for undergoing FGM. Kenya criminalised FGM in 2011 with a punishment of three years imprisonment and a $2,000 fine, but the practice persists because some communities regard it as necessary for social acceptance and increasing their daughters’ marriage prospects. An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. The ritual is practised in at least 27 African countries and parts of Asia and the Middle East.