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Somali Activist's Personal Account of Female Genital Mutilation

Activist Asha Ismail via "Save a Girl Save a Generation" Facebook page.

Activist Asha Ismail via “Save a Girl, Save a Generation” Facebook page.

Somali activist Asha Ismail recounted her own experience with female genital mutilation (FGM) and her fight to eradicate it to radio Onda Vasca on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, 2014 (hear the full interview in Spanish here).

Asha Ismail was born in a Somali village and subjected to FGM when she was just 5 years old. She promised herself that she would never let her own daughter suffer such torture. Currently, she directs the organization Save a Girl, Save a Generation, which campaigns against FGM and other practices that violate women's rights such as forced marriage.

Asked whether about the practice's cultural and religious ties, a factor that could complicate efforts to combat it, she said that FGM violates women's rights and dignity, and in many cases, women stay in situations in which their own will is totally defeated.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted in his message for the day, “Just because a harmful practice has long existed does not justify its continuation. All ‘traditions’ that demean, dehumanize and injure are human rights violations that must be actively opposed until they are ended.”

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