Lead Author: SCHIEF Matthias
Co-Author(s): HAENNI Simon, LIN Qingyang
Published by: CCWD
Year published: 2018

Traditional cultural practices span across all cultures and societies for generations and they reflect values and beliefs held by its members. Some of them are beneficial to all members, while some are harmful to a specific group, especially women and children. (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 1995)

There are numerous harmful traditional practices around the world. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (2015) strikes the importance of attention on child and/or forced marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), due to their impact on the reproductive health. Besides child marriage and FGM, another cultural practice gains its attention for the same reason as well – initiation rituals. This is a very common practice among over half of the societies worldwide (Schlegel & Barry, 1979). Some of these initiation rituals involve harmful practices, in particular related to forced sexual intercourse. This desk review will focus on these three important categories of harmful traditional practices regarding reproductive health: child marriage, initiation rituals, and FGM/C.