Wluml dossier 3 June/July 1988 Sexual Mutilations

Female circumcision in Djibouti

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Female circumcision in Djibouti
The Republic of Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa, with a surface of 23,0 km. It has been independent since June 1977. Its resources are limited, and the exploration and exploitation of them is still in an experimental stage.
Infibulation, one of the forms of female circumcision, consists of a clitoridectomy, together with the removal of the inner labia and the cutting of the outer labia, which are then joined together with acacia thorns, and the legs bound in order to ensure an almost complete occlusion of the vulva opening.
The mother, sometimes with the help of the grandmother, is responsible for the upbringing of the children, especially girls. The date of the ritual operation is decided upon by the mother. The age of initiation varies among both the nomads and settled

people occurring between 6 to 10 years, but generally taking place at about the age of 7 or 8. The operation must always be performed before the first menstruation. There are, however, certain families who belong to the Djibouti minority of Yemeni origin who circumcise their daughters 7 days after birth, or between the 7th and 40th day after birth. The operation is performed by Somali and Afar women who specialise in circumcision. These traditional practitioners carry out this operation as a secondary activity in addition to their normal family responsibilities.

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