Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Ethiopian women's rights activist Gebre honored

06/11/13 Ethiopian women's rights activist in Gebre honored-› Politics 1/2
© GmbH 2013


Your educational work has contributed to that
the number of circumcised girls in Ethiopia fell sharply
Vienna – The Ethiopian women's rights activist Bogaletch Gebre receives the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Prize for her work against genital cutting in her home country. through her
The use and work of their group "Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma" (KMG) was able to increase the number of new
circumcised girls, according to a study by the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF from 2008
be reduced to zero. The award ceremony will take place in Vienna on Monday evening.
Men and women involved in discussion processes
KMG was founded in 1997 by Bogaletch Gebre and her sister Fikrte. The work against FGM
picked up the group in 2000. Her approach is awareness and educational work in the
respective villages and towns. It is important at work that both men and women
of all ages can be involved in the process. “In addition to that, we had at the
Two people also took part in rounds of talks who provided basic facts on the subject. About,
that neither the Bible nor the Koran says anything about genital cutting, what are the risks
circumcision for girls and that many have died from it.” In Ethiopia included
circumcision traditionally involves cutting away the clitoris, as well as the inner and outer
“We allowed the groups to have a week-long discussion process before they closed themselves
came to the conclusion that this practice had to be stopped," explained Gebre. According to Gebre
Genital cutting is neither an Ethiopian nor an African tradition. "I don't know where that came from
phenomenon is coming,” she said. It is obvious that it serves this purpose in a patriarchal system
To control and subdue women and deprive them of their sexual desire.
Demonstrative marriage
The first major success was achieved just two years after the organization started its activities
be recorded: A young couple decided to get married. “She was uncircumcised and the two
celebrated their wedding in public,” said Gebre happily. “There were 3,000 guests in total
came and the religious leaders blessed the marriage in front of all.” Thereupon was a kind
Competition arose in the neighborhood: “Suddenly everyone wanted an uncircumcised woman
get married,” said the award winner.
"I don't know if I won the fight. We are making achievements in the communities,”
said Gebre. “But there are numerous areas in addition to circumcision where the rights of
Women are being hurt.” The work is only done when women have the same rights and freedoms
and would possess the same value as men. “I hope that violence against women in the name
tradition will end one day," said Gebre. Every culture that violates human rights is a
System that should no longer be accepted in the 21st century. (APA, June 10, 2013)
Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma Ethiopia › PoliticsJune 11, 2013 Ethiopian women's rights activist in Gebre honored-› Politics 2/2