The National Gender and Equality Commission is aware of the Constitutional Petition No. 8 of 2017 filed at Machakos filed by Dr. Tatu Kamau who alleges that prohibition of FGM for female adults is a violation of Article 44 of the Constitution which states that every person has a right to use the language, and to participate in the cultural life of the person’s choice.
The petitioner challenges the constitutionality of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011 enacted principally to prohibit the practice of female genital mutilation, to safeguard against violation of a person’s mental and physical integrity through the practice of female genital mutilation. The petitioner further seeks the disbandment of the Anti-female Genital Mutilation Board, a body established to implement the provisions of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011.
The National Gender and Equality Commission is charged with the mandate of ensuring compliance with all treaties and conventions ratified by Kenya relating to issues of equality and freedom from discrimination and relating to special interest groups including minorities and marginalized persons, women, persons with disabilities, and children.
The Commission recognizes the adverse effects of Female Genital Mutilation especially to young girls. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for the rights of the child to among others the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour. Additionally, Kenya is a signatory to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
We have been enjoined as an interested party in the case and will be opposing the petition on grounds that FGM is a harmful cultural practice that violates women’s and girl’s human rights including equality, life, security of the person, dignity, freedom from torture, cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment, health including reproductive health.
DR. FLORENCE WACHIRA MBS