The Afar impose harsh sentences on Female Genital Mutilation!
Back in 2002, the Afar people of Ethiopia announced during TARGET’s first Desert Conference that Female Genital Mutilation was a sin. This decision constituted TARGET’s first quantifiable success. It proved that it would be possible to put an end to this crime through close co-operation with Islamic religious leaders.
Once again the Afar wish to lead the way. They have introduced exemplary tribal legal sentences as a consequence of the Cairo decision. On 6 July 2007 the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, the Sultan of the Afar People, Ali Mirah Hanfary, and the Clan leaders enacted the following sentences in tribal law for Female Genital Mutilation:
“Obligation to report parents and circumcisers and blood money as a punishment!”
Note: A blood feud is greatly feared as a sentence by the Afar since it can only be avoided by paying out extremely large amounts of compensation. Circumcising as a lucrative business has been settled once and for all.
The public proclamation
To mark this event, TARGET was given permission to erect a six square metre large, solidly fixed, metal sign in front of the mosque located at the entrance to Samara, the Afar province’s new capital. It proclaims the new message: “Female Genital Mutilation is a sinful deed!”
The message can be read in Afaraf (the Afar language), Amharic (the language of Ethiopia), Arabic and English.
Our project leader, Ali Mekla Dabala, is responsible for ensuring that the Afar leaders manage to disseminate and supervise the communication of the new tribal decision right as far as the outlying areas of the Danakil desert.