In Vancouver, Canada… First Lady Rescinds Stance On FGM

Anti FGM campaigners have embarrassed the country’s First Lady, Fatima Bio, over her stance on FGM while she was attending a women’s conference in Vancouver in Canada quite recently.
A renowned British FGM, Sarian Kamara, who was equally attending the women’s conference in Canada and doubles as a victim of FGM, had attacked the first lady showing her two models of vagina –one with no external genitalia.
Sarian, who forcefully underwent FGM at age 11 in Sierra Leone, told the first lady about her direct experiences after having undergone FGM.
Fatima Bio was quoted to have stated to a Gambian TV host that she does not believe that the practice of FGM was harmful, and that she has directly been a victim of FGM. She continued that she has successfully given birth to four children without any complications.
“Somebody should provide me with evidence and statistics that FGM is harmful because am not aware of any. Myself, my aunts and other female family members have all undergone FG with no problems. I cannot speak against FGM when I don’t have the statics,” Madam Fatima Jabbie Bio told the Gambian TV host whiles the couple were on an official visit to the native country of the first lady.
Many Anti-FGM campaigners back home have criticized the first lady over her comments about FGM, which remains condemned as human rights violations by the United Nations and other members states including Sierra Leone.
The condemnations took center stage when the first lady later took up her Hands Off Our Girls Campaign, which was meant to address the high spate of rape, early child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Many have bashed at the campaign for failing to recognize and take on board FGM which is crucially a component of all the others issues embedded in her campaign.
The United Nations Women and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities and the country’s Ministry of Social Welfare and Children’s Affairs, that are very notable in fighting towards minimizing the practice in the country, had remained silent since the first lady made the comments supporting the practice.
Fatima Bio was also challenged by the Human Rights Campaigners in Canada over her continuous rhetoric that Sierra Leone has a law on FGM. Sarian Kamara took an exception to the rhetoric and noted that most of what the first lady referred to as laws and agreements have no legal mandate.
The first lady later succumbed to the human rights campaigners in the conference and committed herself to learning more about the health and negatives of FGM on women and girls. She promised the campaigners that she is willing to learn more about the consequences of FGM
Many Sierra Leoneans, including this medium, believed at the time that the first lady made these comments due to her very little knowledge about a worldwide human rights violations on African girls and that it was important that she was schooled on the negative consequences of FGM and the widely available research findings on the consequences to avoid her similar embarrassment in the near future.
We are expecting the first lady to not only soften her stance on FGM but to also commit to being an ambassador to stop the practice. She could as well add FGM as a critical component to her Hands Off Our Girls Campaign.

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