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Framing FGC: Health and Human Rights Approaches Bettina Shell-Duncan, Ph.D. Department of Anthropology University of Washington.

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Presentation on theme: "Framing FGC: Health and Human Rights Approaches Bettina Shell-Duncan, Ph.D. Department of Anthropology University of Washington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Framing FGC: Health and Human Rights Approaches Bettina Shell-Duncan, Ph.D. Department of Anthropology University of Washington

2 What are the ramifications of framing FGC as a human rights violation? What perils and pitfalls potentially arise from a rights-based framework?

3 Previous Frameworks for Justifying Intervention Health Framework Genital mutilation should be treated as a public health problem and recognized as an impediment to development that can be prevented and eradicated much like any disease. -Fran Hosken (1978: 151)

4 Problems Emanating from the Health Framework Failed to motivate behavior change Credibility gap Difficulty in establishing the medical facts Encouragement of medicalization

5 Human Rights Framework 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights 1) FGC classified as a form of violence against women (VAW) 2) VAW recognized a a human rights violation

6 Doctrinist Claims to Define FGC as a Human Rights Violation 1) Rights of the child 2) Rights of women 3) Freedom from torture 4) The right to health and bodily integrity

7 Perils and Pitfalls of the Human Rights Framework 1) Can view the problems and solutions too narrowly 2) Imposition of a Western human rights culture 3) Undermine womens agency 4) Unresolved questions concerning consent

8 Recommendations Assess, anticipate and attempt to avert pitfalls Conduct research on how legislative measures contribute to changes in FGC Seek to understand how legal measures interact with other change efforts


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