The use of female circumcision is increasing the number of deaths of young girls in indigenous communities, said the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) said Thursday.
The practice “indiscriminately affect[s] the human rights of indigenous girls,” it said in a statement released on its website, in which it called on Colombian authorities to take action.
The statement follows the recent death of a 15-day-old baby from an indigenous tribe in western Colombia after the removal of her clitoris in a banned ancestral practice.
The infant, who died of a haemorrhage, belonged to the Embera-Chami tribe in the Valle de Cauca department, who pledged in 2010 to end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
The mayor of Ansermanuevo, Jose Luis Herrera, said the case is being investigated by Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s office. He went on to say the mayor’s office will be implementing a social program that will “change this kind of cultural activity.”
The ONIC released a statement in January for the need to address “the grave humanitarian situation facing Colombia’s indigenous people, who continue to be subjected to killings, displacement, rape, child abuse and serious and gross human rights violations.”