Regional conference discuss violence against woman [Archives:2007/1055/Local News]

May 31 2007

SANA'A, May 30 ) A regional conference involving Egypt, Djibouti, Oman, Sudan, and Yemen kicked off on Wednesday in Sana'a. The conference is to discuss the violence against women particularly the physical violence acted in girls' circumcision as well as early marriage and deprivation of education.

In its first-day session, the participants called on Arab governments to criminalize circumcision, being not part of Islam and banned in international treaties. They also demanded to issue laws that put an end to this phenomenon.

Contrary to ladies' call for equality with men, Dr. Najeeba Abdulgani from Sana'a University asked for no equality with men as to circumcision because such an operation leaves a bad physical, psychological, and sexual effect on ladies. Those circumcised in their early age will suffer from frigidity later on.

Most researchers believe female genital mutilation came to Yemen from Africa and it is so dominant in those southern and western areas especially those overlooking the seas. They remove part of female's sexual organs on the grounds that such operation will make her chaster and minimizes her sexual desire.

Different religious scholars assured female circumcision is not there in Islam and Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) did not mutilate his daughters' organs. Further, they assure that there are no overt verses in Quran or narrated Hadith that obligates females' circumcision, maintaining all narrated Hadith on mutilation are weak.

Yemeni Women Union chairwoman Ramzia Al-Eryani hinted that illiteracy is a prime reason for the dominance of this phenomenon in Yemen, especially in coastal cities where people come in touch with people of different cultures by sea. She revealed that Al-Mahara recorded the highest percent as for female circumcision with 97 percent, followed by Al-Hodeidah, Hadramout, Aden, and Taiz respectively.

For her part, Minister of Human Rights Huda Al-Ban vowed to adopt the resolutions and recommendations of the conference, calling on Yemeni Women's Union and the Woman's National Committee to organize awareness campaigns in order to stop discrimination against women.

United Nations Population Fund representative Sawsan Al-Rif'ei stressed that the fund does not accept the violence directed to women and girls, maintaining they work with partners to prevent violence against women. “We consider female circumcision to be a form of violence against girls as it leaves physical and psychological effects on them