FGM in Latin America among the Embera People in Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador


An event to mark the International Day of the Girl Child



Latin America is not a region where FGM is heavily practiced. In general, countries in the region do not have special laws on FGM but do have general laws on bodily harm and mutilation. FGM is however, traditionally practiced among the indigenous Embera people in the three countries they inhabit : Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador. This BBL explores the extent to which, and the ways in which FGM is practiced in Latin America within the Embera people. It also discusses the Risaralda court case following the death of three Embera baby girls as a direct consequence of FGM. Why was there prosecution with no conviction? What was the judicial message conveyed? Were these indigenous girls adequately protected under Colombian Law? How did the national and international communities react after this human tragedy? How is the malpractice of FGM evolving in the Embera communities ? Will they abandon FGM within our generation and before 2030? The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.


12:00 Welcoming Words

  • Edith Mwenda 
    Senior Counsel,World Bank

12:10 Panel discussion on the practice of FGM among the Embera People in Latin America and review of the Risaralda case law | Q&A

12:30 The UNFPA Embera Wera Project : Insights and Lessons

  • Esmeralda Ruiz Gonzàles, (former) Gender and Rights Adviser, UNFPA
    Moderated by: Diana Jimena Arango, Senior Gender Specialist, World Bank

Edith Mwenda

Senior Counsel, World Bank

Edith Ruguru Mwenda is a Senior Counsel at the World Bank, she joined the World Bank in 2001 and has worked as an operational lawyer in Africa and in the Caribbean. She has been for many years the Gender Advisor for the Legal Department and the Gender Group at the World Bank and has a passion for Gender Based Violence related issues, including GBV and development, codes of conduct to prevent GBV as well as the operationalization of GBV issues in World Bank operations. 

Edith holds a LMB from the university of Nairobi, a LMM in Banking and finance from the University of London (Queen Mary College) and a LMM in International Environmental Law from the George Washington University. She is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

Lorruama Ferreira Oliveira

Lawyer and Indigenous Women Rights Specialist

Lorruama Ferreira Oliveira is a Brazilian lawyer from the Pataxó Nation. She holds a law degree from the Fortium Law School in Brasilia. She is currently an associate counsel at Safe-Carneiro Law Firm and has developed a strong interest in women’s rights in indigenous populations in Brazil and elsewhere. She is also an LLM candidate at the University of Brasilia (UnB) where she intends to study more specifically indigenous women’s rights and the tensions between community rights and civil/citizen’s rights. She regularly participates in the works of the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development’s FGM/C Legal Working Group.

Lou M.C Granier

International Consultant and Gender Specialist

Lou M. C. Granier is a French International Consultant in Development specialized in Gender. She holds a master's degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics, and a joint degree from Queen Mary University of London in Economics and Politics. She then specialized in Gender programming and GBV at the George Washington University. She is specifically dedicated to work toward the eradication of FGM/C and has been working with the World Bank, NGOs, and the National Committee to Combat Harmful Practices in Guinea Bissau while developing operational work in Mali and in Guinea. She is also a member of the Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development’s FGM/C Legal Working Group.#EndFGM #SDG5.3 

Esmeralda Luiz Gonzales

National Director of Crime Prevention and Conciliation in the Ministry of Justice and Law and First Deputy Defender for children and women in the Office of the Ombudsman

Former Gender and Rights Adviser at UNFPA 

Esmeralda Ruiz Gonzàles is a lawyer from the National University of Colombia where she specialized in family law, gender and human rights. She holds a Master degree in public policies, evaluation and development. She also graduated in "Human Rights based approach", from the United Nations Training of Trainers School in Turin, Italy. She is currently the National Director of Crime Prevention and Conciliation in the Ministry of Justice and Law and First Deputy Defender for children and women in the Office of the Ombudsman. For 15 years she was responsible for the area of ​​gender, rights and violence at the UNFPA in Colombia, developing innovative initiatives for Latin America and the Caribbean such as work with the High Courts of Justice and the National Gender Commission of the Judicial Branch. Likewise, she worked on the project for the "Eradication of female genital mutilation in indigenous communities" among others. She has worked as a consultant for EUROSOCIAL and the Regional Office for South America of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in relation to the issues of equality, non-discrimination, gender, violence and rights, she has provided technical support to the judicial powers of Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Honduras, in the processes of incorporation and application of the principle of equality and non-discrimination and the gender approach in judicial decisions.

Diana Jimena Arango

Senior Gender Specialist, World Bank

Diana J. Arango is the Sr. Gender-Based Violence and Development Specialist in the Gender Cross-Cutting Solutions Area at the World Bank Group. She has more than 10 years of experience working on development issues including gender-based violence, specifically within the context of humanitarian settings. Before joining the World Bank Group, she was a Research Scientist at George Washington University's Global Women's Institute leading research on violence against women and girls in conflict settings.


Event Type: Webinar

Date: Wednesday October 13, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

Venue/Location: Virtual

Working Group: FGM

Contact: globalforumljd@worldbank.org