Kenya’s High Court Upholds Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

The Nairobi High Court upheld the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) even for consenting adults, on Wednesday. 

The High Court’s ruling read, “We are not persuaded that one can choose to undergo a harmful practice. From the medical and anecdotal evidence presented by the respondents, we find that limiting this right is reasonable in an open and democratic society based on the dignity of women.”

This amidst reports of FGM being continuously practiced during the pandemic as schools have shut down. 

The judgment dismissed the petition of Dr. Tatu Kamau who filed a case arguing that the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act was unconstitutional, saying women over 18 must have the right to choose for their bodies. 

The 2011 Act punishes those convicted with a jail time of at least three years and a fine of $2,000.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM mostly in Africa and is usually carried out on girls between infancy and age 15.

The practice is mostly done due to deep-seated beliefs and social norms despite having no health benefits.

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