The Eritrean Information Ministry described female circumcision as a dangerous process that threatens the health and lives of women. The practice also causes significant suffering and pain to women, it said.
Legislation was passed in March 2007 to punish anybody that requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation (FGM).
Practitioners (including many Beja) say that the procedure prepares the women for adulthood, protects their virginity, as well as cleansing them when they reach the age of puberty. It is usually performed when the female is a young girl, by older women.
Though a number of African countries have outlawed the procedure, it is a widespread practice. Eritrean women activists said over 90 percent of Eritrean women have gone through the pains of female circumcision.