According to the UN, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises “all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women”. UN Women has estimated that it affects about 100-140 million women and girls worldwide, and that each year “an additional three million girls are at risk of being subjected to the practice globally”.
For this reason on December 20, 2012 the UN General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to ban this practice worldwide.
Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15-49 include Somalia with 98%, Guinea with 97%, and Djibouti with 93%.
Fortunately, according to UNICEF, since 2008 more than 15,000 communities and sub-districts in 20 countries, as well as 2,000 communities in 2015, have declared themselves as abandoning FGM.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a message today, February 5th, 2016, one day ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, denouncing FGM as a “violent practice” that violates women and girls’ rights. He stated:
“Today I raise my voice and call on others to join me in empowering communities which themselves are eager for change. I count on governments to honour their pledges with support from civil society, health providers, the media and young people”.
Ending FGM is a specific target under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so it is crucial to accomplish it before 2030, the target date of the SDGs.
The UN considers that in order to promote the end of FGM we need coordinated and systematic systems that engage entire communities and to focus on the importance of human rights and gender equality.
To learn more please visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/femalegenitalmutilationday/background.shtml