Somalia

Population

15.3 million

Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49

98%

2018 population growth rate

2.98%

Estimated prevalence among girls and women aged 15-19

98%

Type practised

Type III (infibulation) is the most commonly practised form of female genital cutting (FGC) in Somalia. In more recent years, the UN has observed that there has been a shift towards other types of cutting, however.


Age

FGC in Somalia is frequently performed on girls aged 5-9. This represents a shift in practice. Traditionally, FGC was performed in adolescence as initiation into womanhood.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF


Agent

Traditional practitioners carry out the majority of FGC procedures, although medicalisation of FGC in Somalia increasing.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF


Legal status

Legal, although the practice is prohibited under the Somali constitution. Anti-FGC law is pending adoption and there have been promising developments towards criminalisation in Somaliland and Puntland in the north.


National progress

  • 2012 – Constitution prohibiting FGC
  • 2014 – President signed a government policy outlawing FGC in Puntland region
  • 2014 – Inter-ministerial FGC taskforce established in Puntland
  • 2014 – Zero-tolerance fatwa released in Puntland
  • 2014 – Decree against medicalisation of FGC in place in Puntland
  • 2015 – Coordination taskforce and mechanism established in Mogadishu
  • 2015– FGC taskforce established in Somaliland and Puntland
  • 2016 – Draft zero tolerance bill in Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Somaliland and Puntland
  • 2016 – Puntland passed into law the Sexual Offences Act (includes FGC)

UN programme

It reports prevalence rates as stable (at 98%), when prevalence rates among different age cohorts are compared.

Phase II of the programme (2014-2017) saw 890 communities make declarations of FGC abandonment.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF

Political instability in the region makes it difficult to conduct co-ordinated NGO or governmental programmes on FGC due to a lack of institutions and infrastructure.


Human Development Index ranking

Not available.


Infant mortality rate

85 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015).

Source: 28 Too Many


Maternal mortality rate

732 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015).

Source: 28 Too Many


Trends in FGC prevalence

FGC prevalence in Somalia remains the highest in the world. Rather than complete abandonment, there has been a move away from the most severe form of FGC (Type III). It is unknown whether this shift could lead to total abandonment of the practice.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF


Prevalence breakdown

By region

The central and southern regions of the country have the highest prevalence, at 99.2%. Qualitative data suggests that the practice is in sharp decline in urban areas, according to the most recent UN report.

Source: UNFPA-UNICEF and 28 Too Many


FGC in Somaliland

Officially the Republic of Somaliland, it is a self-declared state which is recognised internationally as autonomous from Somalia.

Read Somaliland country profile

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