African anti-FGM laws are not working, say officials

A conference in Nairobi has led to an admission from legal experts that laws in east Africa designed to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are not working.

Although many countries in the region have passed laws that carry heavy prison sentences for perpetrators of FGM, authorities are doing little to identify the individuals responsible, according to a report by BERNAMA.

Tanganyika Law Society President Francis Stolla explained that courts must do more to implement the punishment they put in place, otherwise they cannot expect the measure to act as a deterrent.
He used the example of Tanzania, saying: "Tanzanian law provides 15 years' imprisonment for FGM perpetrators but the culprits are rarely arraigned in court."

Meanwhile, the conference's Ugandan representative Aaron Bessigye explained that FGM laws in the country yield an 18-year jail term for offenders. But despite reports of an increasing number of cases, there has yet to be a single successful prosecution.