Somaliland issues fatwa banning female genital mutilation

Somaliland issues fatwa banning female genital mutilation

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Somaliland has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning female genital mutilation (FGM) – and paving the way for the breakaway region to pass legislation against the internationally condemned practice, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The fatwa from the ministry of religious affairs on Tuesday said those who perform FGM would face punishment, and victims would be eligible for compensation. It did not provide details on the severity of punishment, or the amount of compensation.

“The reason that this harmful practice has existed for so long is that people believe it is because our religion or culture dictates that we should do it,” said Ayan Mahamoud, Somaliland’s representative in Britain.

“The fatwa is basically a message from the government to everyone in Somaliland that there is no religious or cultural basis for FGM,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The practice – which involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia – is almost universal in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia.

The Horn of Africa nation has the world’s highest rate of FGM, according to the United Nations.

An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which can cause serious physical and mental health problems.

Mahamoud said the religious ban – which coincided with the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM – was timely as it comes weeks before a bill outlawing the practice is expected to before parliament.

Many families in Somaliland believe it is a religious obligation although it is not mentioned in the Koran. It is widely considered important for ensuring a girl’s purity and a prerequisite to marriage.

The ancient ritual is usually carried out by traditional cutters, often using unsterilized blades or knives.

The fatwa pertains to the most severe form of FGM called infibulation, where the external genitalia are removed and the vaginal opening sewn or sealed closed. It is the most common type of FGM performed in Somaliland.

Women’s rights activists, who have fought for decades to end FGM, welcomed the move but said the struggle was not over yet.

“It took us 42 years to reach this day, but, this is not the end of the battle,” tweeted Edna Adan, a leading anti-FGM campaigner in Somaliland.

“FGM must be completely eradicated in my country and everywhere in the world.”

Reporting by Nita Bhalla @nitabhalla, Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.

International Day of the Midwife: Edna Adan

The Fistula Foundation features a video of an Interview with Edna, to commemorate the International Day of the Midwife.

Inspiring story, check it out here

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day I have many reasons to be thankful.  The Edna Adan University Hospital (EAUH) in Somaliland just celebrated its 15th anniversary.  Since its opening in 2002, more than 20,000 babies have been delivered and over 1,000 midwives, nurses, and other health workers have been trained. The hospital remains committed to providing first-rate health care to the community and to battling female genital mutilation.

But these are very challenging times.  We are facing the worst drought in the last 60 years. Because of the drought, maternal morbidity and mortality – which were very high anyway – have risen due to severe malnutrition in women causing them to either miscarry or go into premature labor several weeks ahead of their due dates. Our maternity ward and NICU are always full.

Yet this has also been a time when our nursing students have risen to the challenge.  Fatouma and baby Mohamed came from rural Somaliland to EAUH for Mohamed to have hydrocephalus surgery.  Deficiencies in maternal nutrition have been postulated as an indirect underlying cause of hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain.  After surgery, a blood transfusion, and treatment of an infection, our surgeon teased Fatouma about giving a camel in exchange for saving Mohamed’s life.  Fatouma responded with a flood of tears crying out that all her family’s livestock had died in the drought.  Our students, moved with compassion, began collecting donations to help mothers like Fatouma.

We invite you to honor mothers by making a donation which will provide food, water, and medication for an increasing number during their hospital stays. 

Fatouma and Mohamed with students

To help the Edna Hospital and create a unique mother’s day gift, here are five simple steps to follow.

1- Go to
2- Select the “Donate” tab (or click below).
3- Make a donation in your mother’s name by selecting “in honor of…”
4- To type a dedication select “..send an acknowledgement” and then select “Donate Now”.
5- Know that you’ve given a long-lasting, meaningful gift that will help mothers and children across Somaliland!

Donate today and celebrate International Day of the Midwife as well.  This year’s theme is “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!”

We couldn’t do this without you! Thank you so much for continuing to support the Edna Adan Hospital Foundation!

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Edna Adan Hospital Foundation (EAHF) is committed to funding and advocating for initiatives that improve the status of health care and quality of life for women and children in Somaliland and the surrounding regions.  Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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Edna Adan meets with the First Lady of Kenya

Edna Adan meets with the First Lady of Kenya

On March 21st, at the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) World Congress 2017 at Capetown, South Africa, Edna Adan meets with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta of Kenya


Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

Republic of Somaliland Requests Exemption from U.S. Executive Order Intended to Prevent the Entry of Foreign Terrorists

For Immediate Release


Hargeisa, Somaliland – The Republic of Somaliland today sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to request an exemption for Somaliland residents from the January 27 U.S. Executive Order restricting entry into the United States by individuals from Somalia and six other nations.

In the letter, Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Dr. Sa´ad Ali Shire urged the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to take this action in light of the fact that Somaliland is an independent, democratic and stable nation that– unlike the nations affected by the Order – does not suffer from what the Order describes as “deteriorating conditions… [that] due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.”

The letter also explains as the collapse of Somalia’s governing institutions and civil society dominated global attention and vast resources from the United States and other nations, Somaliland focused on building strong state institutions, maintaining peace within its borders and creating a sustainable economy. Having met the requirements for sovereign recognition, Somaliland functions as an independent government and nation, as well as a model for others. Unlike the nations subject to the suspension imposed by the recent Executive Order, Somaliland has full control over its territory and has not experienced the emergence of terrorist organizations. In fact, no acts of terrorism have occurred in Somaliland since October 2008. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has collected data indicating that Somalia has endured no fewer than one hundred terrorist attacks each year over the same period, and a significant increase in these numbers in recent years.

The letter notes that despite Somaliland’s accomplishments, “As a result of the January 27 Executive Order, Somaliland residents may not travel to the United States to visit family, pursue educational advancement or strengthen commercial ties between our two nations.” The letter also states that, “The mutual benefits realized through these contacts are immeasurable, and contribute both to our nation’s continued vitality and its ability to serve as a reliable partner to the United States in a challenging region.”

The Foreign Minister’s letter appeals for the U.S. Government’s favorable consideration of this exemption, which would “not only relieve Somalilanders of the unintended and undue burdens caused by the Executive Order, but also acknowledge – for Somaliland and others in the region and the world – that strong and responsible governance provides a foundation upon which America’s partners can secure progress for their citizens and contribute to shared international objectives.”

The Republic of Somaliland is a sovereign state in the Horn of Africa sharing its borders with the Republic of Djibouti, Federal Republic of Ethiopia and Federal Republic of Somalia. The former British Somaliland Protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1960 and subsequently united with Somalia, thereby creating the Somali Republic. The Republic of Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991.