Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Burkina Faso


According to UNICEF, the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Burkina Faso is 76%. The majority of girls and women (90%) want the practice to end. Terre des Femmes highlights the following percentages: north 88%, centre-north 87%, Plateau Central 88%, centre-east 90%, Hauts-Bassins 82%, Cascades 82%, Sahel 78%, east 70%, Boucle du Mouhoun 70%, centre-west 55%, centre-south 68%, south-west 79%.

Terre des Femmes sheds light on the fact that more than half of girls (55%) are cut before the age of 4 and almost all FGM/C is performed by traditional practitioners. Despite Burkina Faso's very active efforts towards FGM/C eradication, this continues to happen. The government has fought this practice over 20 years. Nevertheless, FGM/C prevails in rural areas (78%), it is less likely to be practised in cities (69%) and is more widely practiced among the Muslim population (81%) than among the Christian one (60%). In addition, daughters of women with little or no education are more often victims of FGM/C.

The type of FGM/C practised in Burkina Faso is most often excision or infibulation. Terres des Femmes names different justifications for the continuation of FGM/C. Some believe a girl will suffer social exclusion if she is not cut, some believe that FGM/C cleanses the body and the spirit of girls, some think that without being cut a woman has a lower chance to marry, some are convinced that only FGM ensures a girl's virginity.

Burkina Faso banned FGM/C in 1996; UNICEF notes that it is not only a punishable offence to practise FGM/C, but also to know that someone has performed FGM/C and not report it. Burkina Faso acceded to the ICESCR in 1999, to CEDAW in 1987 and ratified the CRC in 1990 and the Banjul Charter in 1984. 

See also 28 Too Many's country profile on Burkina Faso.


FGM/C Country of Origin Expert for Burkina Faso

Margaret Nyarango


Margaret Nyarango is a social and medical anthropologist interested in researching on contemporary sociocultural and economic issues affecting women in sub-Saharan African societies. She holds an MSc from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Massey University. In her doctoral thesis "Fluid Identities: Contextualising Genital Reconstructive Surgery After Female Circumcision In Burkina Faso" Margaret explored the context and impact of genital reconstructive surgery after FGM/C in Burkina Faso. She has written about and given conference presentations on the practice of FGM/C in Burkina Faso.


Anti-FGM/C Organisations in Burkina Faso

Voix de Femmes, Une tribune pour la femme burkinabée (Voices of Women, a forum for the Burkinabe woman)

09 BP 383 Ouagadougou 09 Burkina Faso
Email : voixdefemmesatyahoo [dot] fr 
Tel.: + 226 50 50 80 64; + 226 50 40 21 66
Contact person: Mariam Lamizana
Email : mlamizanaathotmail [dot] com  
Tel.: + 226 50 38 47 08; + 226 70 26 26 07

Voix des Femmes fights violence against women, promotes women's rights and educates women in Burkina Faso.