FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION- A BLATANT VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHT OF FEMALE
– Sneha Maji
Female Genital Mutation (FGM) comprises a practice that involves alteration or removal of the female gonads intentionally without any medical cause, which is also termed as Female circumcision. FGM is not only an extreme injustice against the fundamental existence of women but also violates a person’s security, right to life, bodily integrity and to live a life free from external torture including both physical and mental sufferings. It is believed that this practice is originated from the initiation in Egypt drawing inference as of circumcised mummies. In the Red Sea region to Southern Western Africa it has also been prevalent; the female salves of ancient Rome were also subjected to this despicable torture on their genital. The objective of this practice is to protect the virginity and purity, and control of sexual desires of women. In certain society this procedure pledges the respect and obedience towards the institution of marriage. Commitment of women towards his wealthy, polygamous husband thus emphasizing an abusive patriarchy could be another significance of the practice. Other possible functions of FGM could be to reduce the female masturbation, hysteria and lesbianism. In certain instances Female Genital Mutilation is believed to have certain hygiene factors for a pregnant women because while parturition the infant might get affected with some infection coming in contact with the clitoris. In India, FGM is prevalent among the Bohra community of Shia Muslim popularly calling it “Khatna”. However, in this paper comparative analysis of male and female circumcision and its effects on human health has been discussed. Herein, the USA government’s first ever girl summit for eradicating FGM is covered. The Statutory provisions, regulating FGM in across the globe in various countries has been elaborately discussed with judicial pronouncements.
KEYWORDS: Khatna, FGM, Discrimination, Human Right
Removing the female gonads either partially or in total or causing injury to the female genital parts without scientific cause, enshrining usage, belief or values of a particular place called FGM or circumcision of female. Over ten to fourteen lakhs females have gone through circumcision at any of its form every day at the world at large, and two lakhs minor females are in the verge of the brutality of FGM presently. FGM is very much prevalent in Central and eastern Asia but large sections of women in the African sub-continent are subjected to this brutality.
Mutilation of female gonads is performed using normal scissors, knifes or razors. In rare cases burning the area around clitoris (Cauterization) or removal of the clitoris using a stone is performed in places like Sudan or Ethiopia. FGM is generally performed by elderly women of a place without possessing proper knowledge of medical science acting on her prior experience or observation of the act performed by her elders on girls.
The female external gonad organ includes “mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, hymen and clitoris. A soft cushion like fatty tissue covered by skin and pubic hair is the Mons Pubis .” The labia majora is mascular hinges of multiple cells and tissue, extending under the mons pubis around the vaginal opening. Beneath labia majora is a pair of tissue folded and twisted called labia minora. Vaginal opening covered by a transitory veil called hymen. A small finger-like structure which lies in between Labium and urethra.
KINDS OF FGM
Category 1-Excision of Prepuce with the tip of the clitoris comprises the first category of FGM. Prepuce is the folded skin above clitoris.
Category 2– In the second category of FGM involves disruption of clitoris which is the most sensitive erogenous zones due to it’s highly concentrated of nerve endings. Stimulation of a sensitive area, a sexual physiological is response often brought in.
Category 3– Partial or total removal of female gonads, reducing the size of the vaginal opening (infibulations).
Category 4-Apart from the above mentioned categories then can be various other unclassified methods such as piercing, pricking, incising the labia, clitoris and burning the tissues surrounding vagina or inserting herbs in vagina to make it tight etc.
Who has classified FGM as Clitoridectomy which is the process of removal of female gonad (clitoris) either in total or partially, excision which is the process of removal of clitoris and labia minor, Infibulations (narrowing down the opening of vagina by stretching labia minora and labia majora).
Circumcision may be performed on female at any stage of their life hood i.e. at infancy, childhood, adolescence or at the time of pregnancy.
ORIGIN OF FGM
1. Traces of FGM can be found in Egyptian mummies which evidently prove that the concept existed in the society 5000 years ago.
2. Circular Metal rings were inserted into the labia of female slaves in ancient Rome.
3. In 19th century United Kingdom as a technique of epilepsy, sterilization and masturbation FGM was adopted.
4. Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan are the countries with 27.2 million, 23.2million and 19.8 million circumscribed girls. 29 countries of Africa has more than 125 million of girls with cut on their genital, mostly it is performed for the continuation of the tradition and symbolize culture.
5. Practice of FGM is very much prevalent among the Bohra community as a part of their traditional and religious facet and this practice is named as “Khatna” in the local dialects. Khatna
1978-79: In the year of 1978-79 a seminar was conducted by World Health organization dealing with the issue of the traditional practices which put negative impact on the health of women worldwide. The seminar which was conducted by WHO has highlighted various traditional practices, usages which victimize women and their health was seriously challenged as a result of it. The veil of FGM was lifted for the first time at the international level through that seminar and jurist expressed serious concern for eradication of FGM .
1979-1980: The General assembly of the United Nation embraces the a strategy for eliminating discrimination and unlawful practices against women in all of its form in formulating a strategy called CEDAW, which expressly states that any kind of usage, traditions, customs which are harmful for the women of all categories would be illegal and violates of the basic right of the women as a human.
1989: The General assembly of the United Nation implements the Convention which deals with protection of child right and prevention of harmful practices against children named (CRC).
FGM VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS ALONG WITH BUNDLE OF OTHER RIGHTS-
Article-21 entails that no person, whether a citizen or non-citizen of India shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law . Right to life is protected by the instrumentality of various statutory and constitutional provisions. Every person shall have right to life, bodily integrity and sense of security. Right to life is an inherent provision. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily denied or bereft of his life. The right to life with human dignity incorporates traces of human civilization and makes life worthy of living.
Right to health– Right to health can be stated as the highest level of health that can be achieved by a human being in his life. Right to sound health, a constitutional right under the umbrella of Article-21as well as under international human rights statutes. The state is under an obligation to provide a basic platform of achieving basic standard of health that a human being can achieve and such a right must be respected and fulfilled. This Court is of the view that core obligations under the right to health shall not be depreciable. No person shall be compelled to live a life sacrificing the basic human dignity. Right to health is inherent under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Right to a dignified life-The right to live with dignity can be recognized as a fundamental right under Article-21 of The Constitution of India, 1950 and it is a basic human right not gift of law.FGM infringes the right of women that she inherent by virtue of being human. Human dignity is another facet of right of life enshrined under the Constitution of India. Traces of Article 21 can be found in the right to dignity of human being. The fundamental facets of the term human dignity entails- dignity as a human being, dignity associated with the mental and physical welfare of the human beings .
Right to privacy-Privacy is the simply a condition, the state of seclusion, anonymity and secrecy. Right to privacy is an integral part of right to life and liberty; the same cannot be denied or violated even to a woman in the name of religion or tradition. Every woman has right to protect her body from any external injury and maintain her bodily integrity against physical afflicts performed on her against her wish. The right to own her body and maintain integrity comes under the right to privacy thus FGM violates the right to privacy of the women as well. The right of privacy has spawned the right to integrity of one’s personality,” and the right to “personhood” or to “selfhood.”
Whenever pain, injury, hurt is caused to a person without consent of such person is said to have caused hurt under the provision of the Indian Penal Code. Section-326 entails punishment for causing grievous hurt voluntarily using dangerous weapon which will be extended to imprisonment of life with a minimal punishment of imprisonment of ten years.
Section 3(b) of POCSO defines the term “Penetrative sexual assault which says that whenever penis or any body parts or an object is being inserted in the vagina, urethra or anus of the female without her consent when the women being a major and in a position to understand the nature and give consent. When such an act of inserting penis, object or any body part to the vagina, urethra or anus of child the consent of child is immaterial as a minor is not in a position to give a valid consent under Indian Penal code, 1860”
The Goa Children’s Act, 2003 (GC Act) under Section 2(y)(i) states that ‘Sexual assault’ is various kind of intercourse either vaginal, oral, anal or by use of any object to the genital of the child. The term sexual assault under the above mentioned act also includes any kind of injury which is deliberately caused to the genital organ of the female. Thus the scope of FGM shall be included under this as by the process of FGM the genital organ of the female is injured which results in despicable health consequences.
FGM VERSUS RIGHT TO RELIGION UNDER INDIAN CONTEXT
In the land mark case of Sunita Tiwari v Union of India , Sunita Tiwari the petitioner raised her voice against the despicable practice of FGM or female circumcision. This case has been tagged with the review petition of Sabarimala review petitions. To reduce female sexuality and confine the female sexual desire and sexuality FGM is frequently practiced in Bohra Community. Shortly the case is being referred to a higher constitutional bench which would ensure greater relief i.e.-
1. Ensuring complete ban on FGM.
2. Declaring FGM as a cognizable offence, non-compoundable and shall not be granted bail.
3. Declaring the practice unconstitutional and illegal.
Dawoodi Bohra community overtly protested against the petition and sought to continue the practice under their constitutional right ensured under Article-25 and Article-26 as it’s a integral part of their religious practice and has been practicing it since time immemorial. It was argued by the Bohra Community that female genital mutilation is a community practice attaching depth of religious sentiment, female circumcision is practiced in a safe and non-mutilating manner by Dawoodi Bohras. The Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community claims as an ancient and integral religious practice and seeks protection of the practice of FGM under Article 25 and Article 26 of the Indian Constitution.
Sardar Syedna v. State of Bombay , – In this case, “the constitutionality of a statute that outlawed the practice of excommunication by the Syedna was challenged on the ground that it is violative of the fundamental right enshrined under Article25 and Article-26(b)” .
The Indian Constitution protects the right to religion but for maintaining public order, morality the above mentioned rights can be subjected to reasonable restriction. Hence the act of circumcision of women in the name of religion and cultural identity cannot be justified under beneath the purview of Indian Constitution . The essential of right beneath Article 26(b) does no longer aim to safety of civil rights
THE LEGAL STATUS OF FGM IN UNITED KINGDOM
As according to Section 1 , a man or woman is guilty of the offence of girl genital mutilation/reducing “if he excises, infibulates or in any other case mutilates the entire or any component of a female’s labia majora,labia minora or clitoris” . The above mentioned act also punished any individual who abets, aids someone who is a no –citizen of United Kingdom to do the act of woman genital mutilation. The act also punishes a citizen of United Kingdom for committing the stated act outside the territory of UK.
Australia undertaking to cope with the peril of FGM with the aid of Australia’s Crimes (Female Genital Mutilation) Act, 1996
Section 3 of Australia’s Crimes (Female Genital Mutilation) Act, 1996 defines FGM as “all or any of the following— (a) infibulations; (b) the excision or mutilation of the whole or a part of the any of the woman genital part that is The clitoris, the labia majora ,labia minora; (c) any method to slender or close the vaginal commencing; (e) the sealing or suturing together of the labia minora or labia majora; (f) the elimination of the top portion of clitoris ”.
FGM LAWS IN SUDAN A COUNTRY IN SOUTH AFRICAN
Four states of Sudan name Red Sea, South Darfur, South cordovan, Gadara have tried to criminalize FGM through imposing the subsequent law-
The Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2008 imposes obligation on the father or mother of girl up to the age of 18 years to save you their daughters.
1. The Child Law, 2009 prohibits all kind of dangerous practices such as FGM
2. Red Sea nation of Sudan added The Child Act 2001 which criminalized Paranoiac Circumcision.
3. Sudan’s traditional authorities have criminalized Female Genital mutilation with 3 years of imprisonment for the wrongdoer on the month of May, 2020.
LEGAL STATUS OF FGM IN EGYPT-
Since 2008 there has been a shift in practice of FGM by conventional individual to clinical experts. At present there aren’t always any rules in location criminalizing the practice of FGM. In 2008 the Child Act, 1996 became amended and the 2016 amendment similarly introduced a stringent regulation to penalize FGM underneath Article 242-bis, Article-242(A).
Art.80 enumerates that the state shall take care of the youngsters and to protect them from all kinds of violence, abuse, mistreatment and business and sexual exploitation . Art. 242-bis involves the provisions of Article 61 of the Penal Code, which criminalize the act of FGM and prescribes imprisonment for no longer less than 3 months and now not exceeding two years, or with a quality of minimal quantity of one thousand Egyptian pounds and no longer exceeding a quantity of 5 thousand Egyptian pounds. Articles 241, 242 of the Penal Code punish, whoever reasons injuries whilst committing FGM.
Art. 7-bis (a) impose responsibility on the mother or father of a baby or any other character who’s taking care of an infant to shield the child from any kind of illegitimate physical abuse.
Offense of FGM can also be blanketed underneath the penal provision of assault and the wrongdoer will be punished underneath Art. 268 and Art. 269
The human frame shall never be dishonored and any attack, deformation or mutilation dedicated against it will be a punishable offense and criminalized. Article eighty guarantees the rights of the a minor (i.e. Individuals under 18 years of age) and expressly states that the state shall protect the youngsters from violence in all forms and prevent any type of abuse ,commercial or sexual exploitation and mistreatment in all of its shape.
Significance of the practice-
1. It is a mirrored image of absolute patriarchy where the sexual choice and sexual delight of the women is reduced thru FGM accordingly embraces the stronger position of the male partner in sexual intercourse.
2. In positive society FGM changed into achieved to prevent the prostitution.
3. Majorly it is done as a usage being practiced for a long time without questioning the act.
Improvement of fertility, infant mortality rate in considered a significant implication of FGM. Prevention of promiscuity is another social significance of the practice of female circumcision. There are sure ideals and values triumphing within the society concerning the practice of FGM which preserve it are in lifestyles in twenty first century.
Circumcision in men v/s circumcision in ladies
A Medical need for circumcision arises frequently when the foreskin of the penis is so rigid and hard it cannot be stretched back to the glands and as a result of that it causes painful urination and stain of blood with urine, in such a scenario Circumcision is the viable option to get rid of such physical difficulty. In Africa circumcision is the viable option to prevent sexually transmitted injection and often suggested by medical experts. Circumcision in men reduces the chances of prostate cancer.
Everyday circumcision for all male babies as a part of the process of growing up is not suggested by medical experts. The AAP empowers the parent of an infant to decide the necessity of circumcision for a male infant and AAP suggests that anesthesia is a compulsory requirement for circumcision of babies or men of any age.
Circumcision might have several positive consequences on health, which includes:
● Improved Hygiene- Circumcision helps to wash the penis easily as the opening of the penis is widen after circumcision.
● Reduce the possibilities of infections in urethra or urinary tract. Circumcision usually reduces the chances of urinary tract infections among men as well the probabilities of kidney problems.
● Reduce the possibilities of prostate cancer- This practice may also frequently reduce the chances of prostate cancer.
● Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Circumcision reduces the risk of sure sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV. But safe sexual practices are utmost important and circumcision is not a substitute of safe sexual practice.
● prevents genital problems- Phimosis that is the process of removal of the upper skin of the penis towards the glands is very difficult and painful for uncircumcised penis.
SHORT-TERM HEALTH DANGERS OF FGM
Severe pain: cutting the nerve ends and sensitive genital tissue by mechanical process without doing anesthesia causes extreme pain. Proper and effective anesthesia is a rare facet in this despicable. The healing period is also painful and prolonged. Type III FGM is a prolonged process, thus results in intensified pain.
Chronic genital infections: Discharge of fluid from Vaginal opening discharge and itching. Cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers might also motive along with persisting ache inside the wounded area.
• Persisting reproductive tract infections: May motive persistent lower back and pelvic pain.
• Urinary tract infections: Infection in outer genital need to be cured on an immediate basis else it would spread the infection to kidney. Once the injection is spread to kidneys the complication would lead to renal failure and dialysis would be the only way out for such a critical disease. The danger of urinary tract infections increases with this practice and such conclusion can without problems be drawn from diverse medical surveys and reports.
Painful urination: Due to obstacle in the urethra and urinary tract or in the channel through which the urine passes out of body from kidney, removal of urine from our body often proved to be very painful. FGM results in excessive urination ache and that might cause urine infection or blood clots found in urine.
Menstrual troubles: Menstrual trouble is an in all likelihood facet impact of this procedure because of blockage in vaginal opening. The inner layer of uterus that is the endometrial layer removed from the body along with the unfertilized ovum through menstrual blood from the body which would cause normal pain but FGM may make this process excessive painful.
Keloids: When the pores and skin is injured, fibrous tissue referred to as scar tissue bureaucracy over the injured location to heal it in a few times immoderate scar tissue generates ensuing clean and tough growths called keloids. Formation of keloids may be very common in case of FGM.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): Trauma of the vaginal epithelium complements the transmission of HIV by means of introducing the virus without delay to the human body. Thus it will be rational to finish that FGM will increase the possibilities of HIV infection
Obstetric headaches: Risk of Caesarean phase is multiplied by the way of the inhuman practice of FGM. Apart from that the possibilities of submit-partum hemorrhage, in depth labour, taking help of episiotomy, difficult parturition, obstetric lacerations, instrumental shipping. The dangers increase with the severity of FGM.
Negative implication in the Psychology of a person: post-worrying strain disease (PTSD), tension problems and melancholy are fundamental results of FGM within the intellectual balance of person
6 February marks as the International day of zero tolerance of FGM to attract interest to the practice of an excessive shape of discrimination against ladies. Major steps have taken with the aid of global affiliation to forestall the inhuman exercise of FGM no matter the efforts at international stage, in 30 countries are more than a hundred and fifty millions of lady witnessing FGM. European Parliament record states that, more than 30,000 females in Britain are idea to be at risk of destiny FGM and round 500,000 females dwelling in Europe are circumcised and are suffering terrible fitness consequences for the complete lifetime.
According to UN over two hundred million girls in several African countries along with Sudan, Egypt, Nigeria, Djibouti and some Asian nations subjected to the peril of this brutal social exercise named FGM. FGM not only violates the basic human rights of the people within the call of lifestyle but it has extreme health dangers associated with it as defined within the paper.
Indian government must discover the lifestyles of this inhuman in the hidden components of FGM. S.A., adopt consciousness campaign approximately the existence of this inhuman exercise and eradicate it absolutely. FGM can come underneath numerous provision of IPC however the offense has not been cited specifically inside the considerable criminal law of India unlike United nation.
Girls and mothers need to be aware about the negative effects of the practice and that they must recognize that they need not to obey such inhuman way of life and authorities ought to form FGM prevention teams worldwide and make them spontaneous in action. The old proverb goes “charity starts off evolved at domestic”; further the households ought to recognize that FGM and prevent it.
FGM is taken under consideration as a maltreatment and abusive act in opposition to the kid within the UK and is blatant a contravention of the kid’s right to existence, their physical integrity as well as of their right to health, comparable statutory regulation ought to be embraced by other international locations as well. As part of the sustainable Development Goals the worldwide committee has focused to get rid of FGM practices from the sector by 2030s.