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Tradition and Rights: Female Genital Cutting in West Africa


Tradition and Rights: Female Genital Cutting in West Africa

This publication covers female genital cutting (FGC) in West Africa, how it violates the rights of girls to be protected from harm, yet is a cherished tradition, defended by women and men alike in many communities.

The publication describes the complexity and the sensitivities of the issue in West Africa. It is meant to generate the constructive dialogue that will be necessary for communities to abandon the practice.

This report is the result of a study conducted in 2005 by Plan International's West African Regional Office, with support from Plan International Germany. The researchers reviewed publications, interviewed national authorities and activists, and collected information about FGC in villages in Mali, Niger, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

We have tried to understand the practice, taking into consideration the views and opinions of girls, boys, women, and men in communities that defend the tradition, those who want to abandon it, and those that have already done so.