"Female Genital Mutilation, Human Rights and Language: The Meeting Point" Chapter in Iribemwangi P. et. al: Human Rights, African Values and Traditions. Nairobi: Focus. pp 50-64; ISBN 9966-01-152-8

Citation:
IRIBEMWANGI PI. ""Female Genital Mutilation, Human Rights and Language: The Meeting Point" Chapter in Iribemwangi P. et. al: Human Rights, African Values and Traditions. Nairobi: Focus. pp 50-64; ISBN 9966-01-152-8.". In: Human Rights, African Values & Traditions . Nairobi: Focus Publishers; 2011.

Abstract:

In the communities where it is practiced, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a valued cultural practice. It is justified using many and varied reasons, some cultural, others religious, some attitudinal and yet others psychological. The operation is performed in many different ways and in varying degrees of severity for different purposes. However, research has shown that the practice has many negative effects on girls and women. The effects are both long and short term. Such effects are mostly health related but they also fall under education, economic and political fields. It is these effects that directly make FGM an issue of human rights concern. FGM contradicts many of the principles laid down in the international instruments of human rights. To reduce its prevalence, one medium, language, is of utmost importance. So, in any strategy geared towards reducing the practice, language plays an integral part. Our thesis is that it is language that would determine the success or failure of any advocacy strategy against FGM. Use language that is unfamiliar to the people, could reduce the effectiveness of messages directed at changing people’s perceptions, attitudes and appreciation of the practice on the one hand. On the other hand, use of a language that people understand easily could result into positive reception of the message and perhaps change in worldview and attitudes toward the practice.

Notes:

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