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Somalia Prime Minister Sharmarke Backs Anti-FGM Campaign

Somalia’s prime minister has publicly backed a campaign to ban female genital mutilation (FGM) in his country.

It is currently against the constitution but parliament has not yet passed a bill outlawing the practice.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke has joined more than a million others by signing an online petition calling for a comprehensive ban.

The UN children’s agency, Unicef, estimates that more than 90% of Somali girls undergo FGM.

It says that it is mainly performed on four to 11-year-olds and can have a long-lasting impact on the girls’ physical and mental health.

Somali anti-FGM campaigner Ifrah Ahmed told the BBC that she had persuaded Mr Sharmarke to sign the petition organised by online campaign group Avaaz.

She said that it was a significant move as many people in Somalia do not openly speak about the issue.

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