Letter of protest delivered to Burkina Faso Embassies around the world

3월 08 2014, 종류: International NEWS
The following letter was delivered to Burkina Faso Embassies and Consulates around the world while legal actions have began against those who pressured the BF Government to take such discriminatory and inhumane measures. Hundreds of FGM victims plan demonstrations in Burkina Faso next week since the Health Minister proceeded to also revoke the temporarily licence of all four US volunteer doctors who had traveled to Burkina Faso to operate on the first 80 patients on our waiting list. Though our hospital was prevented from opening, they had already operated on 29 patients in a licensed clinic near by and planned on continuing their humanitarian mission next week.

Dear Honorable Ambassador,

We come to the doorstep of your embassy today to express our indignation about the outrageous decision of the Burkinabe government not to grant permission for a fully operational medical center dedicated to clitoral repair to open its doors in Bobo Dioulasso on March 7, 2014.

The main function of the humanitarian Kamkaso medical center, which is sponsored by the American NGO Clitoraid, is to provide clitoral restoration surgery for all genitally mutilated women who wish to have that procedure done at no cost.

The first application requesting permission for the creation and opening of the center was filed in 2011 and was then declared lost by the Burkinabe Health Ministry Service. Following the loss of the first dossier, the regional branch of the Health Ministry Service requested that AVFE resubmit a new application in February 2014; all the required documents were submitted and the dossier took its normal course and reached the office of the Health Minister. Representatives of the Health Ministry nevertheless assured representatives of the AVFE women’s association, Clitoraid’s partner in Burkina
Faso, that the setback caused by the loss of the file would in no way interfere with the hospital opening, and that it would be possible for us to launch operations there on March 7.

However, on February 27, Burkina Faso’s first lady, Chantal Compaore, cancelled her participation in the March 7 inauguration. On that same day, the Health Minister prohibited us from launching the scheduled opening and refused to tell us when the authorization would be granted. These events occurred just two days after an influential doctor who is a member of a powerful Catholic organization in Burkina Faso wrote an extremely defamatory letter where he announced that the Ministry of Health and the Governor had been beseeched in order to prevent the opening of the center, simply because of Clitoraid’s affiliation with the Raelian Movement.

We are convinced that the government of Burkina Faso does not want to join the list of countries practicing religious discrimination, and that it will want to resolve this situation quickly so that the hundreds of women who have registered to receive the free surgical repairs can benefit from that procedure as soon as possible. Our waiting list also includes 12 women from other African countries.

It goes without saying that Burkina Faso is a leader in the fight against the scourge of female genital mutilation, or FGM. (It is also known as excision). Therefore, to have a medical center dedicated to providing free surgical repairs for women currently suffering the consequences of FGM seems like a logical progression for the country.

Yet, today, after just such a hospital has already been built – thanks to donations from thousands of people of all faiths from around the world – it remains vacant, even though it is fully equipped and operational. It remains vacant because the person who came up with the idea of building this humanitarian medical center happens to be the spiritual leader of an internationally recognized philosophical movement, one that has thousands of members in Burkina Faso.

Our right to religious freedom is thus being disrespected and violated. Clitoraid’s volunteer doctors have had to begin the operations at a sister clinic in Bobo Dioulasso. Eighty women had already arrived in the city to have the surgery, and they were appalled to learn that the government had caved in to such pressure. Dozens of journalists were on-site witnesses, and the Clitoraid volunteers who show up in front of your embassy today will not relent until the discrimination they are experiencing is completely and unconditionally lifted and operations are allowed to begin at the world’s only medical center dedicated to FGM victims.

We hope the Burkinabe government will hear our plea through your services and that its discriminatory decision to disallow the hospital opening will be reversed quickly, so that there will be no need for us to appeal to an international court.

With my utmost respect,

Brigitte Boisselier, PhD

President of Clitoraid
Spokesperson for the International Raelian Movement.

Patients awaiting surgery to hold protest demanding official opening of world’s first hospital for clitoral restoration

3월 07 2014, 종류: 보도자료
Las Vegas, March 6, 2014 - According to a statement released this morning by Clitoraid, the public is invited to the inauguration of its Kamkaso hospital building. A press conference will be held after the ceremony, which will take place on Friday March 7 at 10 a.m.

"Although the inauguration of the hospital itself was scheduled to take place in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, on Friday March 7, we experienced a setback and we still cannot do operations there,” said Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, president of Clitoraid. “The Ministry of Health has refused to grant us a license because the Raelian Movement initiated this humanitarian project. Strong discriminatory pressure has been brought against the hospital because of that.

Boisselier added that despite this "reprehensible impediment,” the first 29 patients have already had the clitoral repair surgery they were awaiting.

“Thanks to the excellent organization of Dr. Da Sié Benoit, director of Clitoraid/AVFE’s medical center, our two American volunteer surgeons, Dr. Marci Bowers and Dr. Harold Henning Jr., were able to operate at another nearby clinic without any delays,” Boisselier explained. "Furthermore, their training of a Burkinabe surgeon has already begun, and he will soon be able to perform the surgery on genitally mutilated women from the region so they can benefit from this reconstructive surgery."

Boisselier said Drs. Bowers and Henning, who use the surgical technique developed by a French surgeon, Pierre Foldes, will be in Bobo-Dioulasso for two weeks.

“By the end of their stay, a total of 80 patients will have had the operation free of charge,” she said. “The volunteer medical team also includes two anesthesiologists and a nurse. Our volunteers have different spiritual backgrounds but are united by the same desire to help this humanitarian mission that is dear to their hearts."

Boisselier said that since Clitoraid didn’t know how local communities would react to the undertaking, they anticipated running into some opposition.

“But we never suspected we would have to deal with his intransigent Burkinabe government refusing to issue a license,” she said. "Ironically, Burkina Faso’s First Lady, Mrs. Chantal Compaore, is known worldwide for her fight against female genital mutilation!"

Boisselier said the two American surgeons were deeply touched by "the strong will of the women who came, some from thousands of miles away, to regain their sense of female dignity and right to sexual pleasure.”

“Asserting their right to have the clitoral repair surgical procedure at the Komkaso Hospital, these women are organizing a protest for Tuesday, March 11, to denounce the government's refusal to allow this facility to open its doors,” Boisselier said. “The women are furious because this facility was built specifically for them and now it is unable to open for operations."

After the upcoming building inauguration ceremony, visitors will be able to take a guided tour of our medical center.

“People will be able to see for themselves how beautifully operational our new facility is,” Boisselier said. “And they will also see how senseless it is that this wonderful hospital cannot immediately open its doors to patients."

Boisselier said the upcoming ceremony will conclude with a press conference, which she will hold along with Banemanie Traore, President of AVFE, Clitoraid's Burkinabe and American doctors, and a resident from Bobo, Ms. Fatima Diarra, a victim of FGM whose clitoral reconstructive surgery is scheduled to take place on the following day.

Clitoraid volunteer doctors perform 13 operations in 2 days for FGM victims while Catholic Church continues defamatory campaign

3월 05 2014, 종류: 보도자료
LAS VEGAS, March 5 - With Clitoraid’s volunteer team still awaiting the license it needs to open its new medical center in Burkina Faso, a facility dedicated to providing free clitoral repair surgery for genitally mutilated women, American surgeons who volunteered for Clitoraid's first campaign there have already operated on 13 women, according to a statement released today by Clitoraid.

“A doctor friend offered us use of his own medical facility so we could proceed with helping the 80 women awaiting the free operations we promised," explained Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, president of Clitoraid and spokesperson for the International Raelian Movement (IRM). “We are deeply grateful to him!"

She said Clitoraid's partner in Burkina Faso, the women's association AVFE, was informed only 5 days ago that the opening of the hospital couldn't proceed on March 7 as initially planned.

“The same day, we were also told that the license refusal was due to lobbying by influential detractors, including people associated with the Catholic Church,” Boisselier said, adding that this information was later confirmed by a representative of the Catholic Church.

“That person told the BBC that Clitoraid can’t be seen as fit handle to handle such humanitarian work due to its affiliation with the Raelian Movement,” Boisselier said. “But nothing could be further from the truth. Our new hospital is the result of people of many faiths contributing time and money, including two American surgeons and a worldwide volunteer. For the Catholic Church to be giving lessons to the Raelian Movement about humanitarian endeavors is ludicrous. We won’t take lessons from those who have not only denied and tried to suppress most major scientific discoveries for centuries, but are also responsible today for thousands of unnecessary deaths, due to their policy of prohibiting condom use even for AIDS victims."

Clitoraid is a non-profit, U.S.- based humanitarian organization. It was founded in 2006 at the suggestion of Rael, spiritual leader of the IRM.

“His idea was to promote the clitoral repair surgery developed by a French surgeon and make it available free of charge to as many FGM victims as possible,” she said. "I find it outrageous that some misinformed people are denying Clitoraid the right to offer this great service when our hospital is ready to open its doors!"

She added that Clitoraid plans to open additional medical centers on the African continent to help women in many other countries. And she said she applauds other doctors offering the clitoral repair surgery.

"That is excellent news, for the more this clitoral repair surgery becomes available in FGM-affected areas, the better. “It's a powerful deterrent against doing the mutilation in the first place, for why do damage that can easily be undone?"

Catholic Church prevents March 7 opening of Clitoraid’s ‘Pleasure Hospital’

3월 04 2014, 종류: 보도자료
LAS VEGAS, March 3 - According to a statement released today by the nonprofit organization Clitoraid, pressure from the Catholic Church and other detractors of the International Raelian Movement (IRM) has caused Burkina Faso's government to block the scheduled March 7 opening of Clitoraid’s clitoral repair hospital, known as the Kamkaso Hospital, in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Nicknamed “the Pleasure Hospital, the Kamkaso facility is the first of its kind in the world.

“Although the government has suddenly withdrawn its approval for surgeries to be performed there, this facility, once open, will provide free surgery for victims of female genital mutilation,” said Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, president of Clitoraid and spokesperson for the IRM. “The procedure repairs the physical damage they endured. But this wonderful mission has now been stymied by the Catholic Church and its cronies, who are conducting a smear campaign against it for their own selfish motives.”

Boisselier said Clitoraid will seek immediate legal redress through the courts.

“In the meantime, the surgeries we had scheduled will still take place over the next few weeks, at another hospital in Bobo-Dioulasso,” she said. “We’re going ahead as planned.”

She went on to describe why the Kamkaso Hospital will not open on March 7.

“Although the request for licensure of the new hospital was submitted in 2011 and we received

repeated assurances from regional and national officials that the hospital could open on March 7, the health minister of Burkina Faso has explained to a representative of AVFE, our local Clitoraid partner, that the license will not be approved for our scheduled inauguration date of March 7,” Boisselier explained. “Nevertheless, we will go ahead with our inauguration ceremony as planned. And our surgical team will still operate on the patients scheduled for the procedure, but that will take place at another hospital."
She said that an official source who requested anonymity told her that strong pressure from IRM detractors, especially the Catholic Church, was responsible for both the license refusal and the cancellation of the First Lady of Burkina Faso’s participation in the opening ceremony.

“By seeking to prevent our opening, the Catholic Church has become an accomplice of the criminals who mutilate the genitals of African women,” Boisselier declared. “Along with its mission of restoring mutilated clitorises for FGM victims, Clitoraid’s Pleasure Hospital will be a strong deterrent to those who still practice this barbaric custom. They would stop making the excisions since it’s foolish to destroy something that can be readily restored.”

Boisselier said this stance taken by the Catholic Church against Clitoraid is hardly a surprise, given the Vatican’s record.

“Those blocking our opening are the same criminals who support pedophile priests and money laundering by Vatican banks,” she said. “And their directives against using condoms are responsible for thousands of unnecessary AIDS deaths in Africa.”

Boisselier said Clitoraid will take prompt legal action to open the hospital.

“This pressure to close us down will only delay the opening,” she said. “Our attorneys are already looking into various legal options and there will also be worldwide protests in front of Burkina Faso’s embassies.”

As evidence of the pressures brought by the Catholic Church, Boisselier cited the following declaration made against the Kamkaso Hospital by Professor R. Marie Charlemagne Ouedraogo, a Knight of the French Legion of Honor and Commander of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a well-known branch of the Catholic Church.

“This is a big campaign of fraud organized by the sect of Rael with the complicity of certain doctors of Burkina Faso! The health ministry and the governor are beseeched to stop this poisonous campaign! Also, the complicit doctors will have to appear before the medical board very soon!"

"How can a doctor who performs these surgeries himself at very high cost to his patients accuse us of a fraudulent campaign when his rates are way too high for the poor women who planned to come to the Kamkaso hospital?” Boisselier asked. “What is the real fraud here? Clitoraid offers free surgeries performed by competent volunteer doctors, and they follow a procedure that has been published officially by its originator, Dr. Pierre Foldes of France. It has already been performed on thousands of women.”

Boisselier went on to elaborate about what she considers the real reason for the smear campaign against Clitoraid and the Kamkaso hospital.

“The real reason for this delay in the hospital opening is clearly linked to the fact that this purely humanitarian project was initiated by Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement,” she said. “The people putting pressure against this hospital prefer to pursue a pseudo-philosophical vendetta for their own profit instead of thinking of the 80 women who will be in Bobo-Dioulasso to have their free surgery between March 3 and March 14.”

According to Boisselier, the surgeries will be done at the hospital of a doctor friend who will host Clitoraid's medical team.

“Our surgeons are licensed to perform surgeries in Burkina Faso,” she pointed out. "The people responsible for these pressures against us should be ashamed. The Kamkaso hospital is the collective effort of thousands of people of various philosophical backgrounds. They have all contributed to restore the pleasure of life to thousands of women who experienced deep trauma. To prevent them from receiving this voluntary and free help simply because the people offering it don't believe in their god is outrageous. But this campaign against us is perfectly aligned with other misdeeds of the Catholic Church, which teaches that suffering is a source of awakening and ultimate spirituality.”

Boisselier explained that for Raelians, pleasure is the most beautiful source of fulfillment.

“We will continue doing our best to help FGM victims get their dignity back as women and enjoy their right to enjoy physical pleasure and fulfillment,” she said.

The building inauguration ceremony will be held at Clitoraid’s Kamkaso Hospital on March 7 starting at 10 a.m. A press conference will follow.
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