Mosque, Tsumandin District of Dagestan. Photo: Kamal Kamilov,

15 August 2016, 17:01

"Legal Initiative": in Dagestan, female genital cutting is done with clergy's approval

Dagestan preserves the practice of traditional girls' genital cuttings (circumcision), performed with the support of the official clergy and considered by the population as their religious duty, says the study released by the "Legal Initiative for Russia" (LIfR) today on its website.

The female circumcision is contrary to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the recommendations of the international human rights community, says the report of the LIfR.

The researchers had meetings with residents of ten districts of Dagestan and interviewed experts in Makhachkala, Kizilyurt and Rostov-on-Don.

According to the interviews, the female circumcision is especially spread in Eastern Dagestan.

"Even if we take into account the available greatly underestimate data, we can state that tens of thousands of women were subjected to genital cutting," the authors of the report write.

According to the study, the official and influential clergymen support the practice of circumcision.

As an example, the authors quote an Imam of one of Makhachkala mosques, who claims that not to make a girl's circumcision means "falling into sin."

The LIfR has proposed a series of steps to help to empower the women and girls living in the communities practicing female circumcision, so that eventually to phase out these cuttings.

First of all, the authors of the report have offered to adopt laws that will criminalize female circumcision; it is also important to disseminate information about the practice of these cuttings at all levels, including the integration of the problem into educational curricula.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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