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Indonesia urged to ban female circumcision

RIGHTS groups including Amnesty International urged Indonesia to revoke a regulation which they say legalises female circumcision in the mainly Muslim country.

Women's rights activists called on the government to withdraw a decree issued by the health ministry in November authorising certain medical professionals to carry out the procedure on baby girls.

"We are very disappointed with the minister's decision. Circumcision is a form of abuse of women," said Aditiana Dewi Eridani of the Islam and Women's Rights Information Centre today.

"This is a backward step for women's rights protection in this country."

The practice is encouraged by some Islamic leaders and is common in the mainly Muslim country, especially in more conservative rural communities.

Amnesty said the decree violated several Indonesian laws on human rights, child protection and discrimination against women.

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