Kenya’s Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit filed to declare the ban on female genital mutilation as unconstitutional, upholding legislation that prohibits the practice in the African country.
The court has held that the practice “violates the right to health, dignity and sometimes the right to life,” and has therefore rejected the lawsuit, as reported by the Katiba Institute, which promotes the implementation of the Constitution in the country.
“We are very happy that the Kenyan Supreme Court has upheld the law against female genital mutilation, which protects women and girls against this outrageous practice,” said Equality Now, which supports ending FGM around the world.
“We hope the government will now increase its efforts to end female genital mutilation and free its daughters from this harmful practice,” Equality Now said via its Twitter account.
The court’s ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed in 2017 by a doctor who argued that the ban on cutting was unconstitutional because women had the right to choose what to do with their bodies.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has “personally” pledged in 2019 to end female genital mutilation by 2022, a practice that remains in place in the African country despite being criminalized in 2011.
According to 2019 data from the United Nations, one in five women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 in Kenya have undergone the practice, which usually involves partial or total removal of the genitals.
World leaders have pledged to end the practice, which involves partial or total removal of external genitalia and affects 200 million girls and women, according to the development goals agreed in 2015.