End Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) also known as Female Genital Cutting or Female Circumcision is the destructive removal of some or all of the external female genitalia or inflicting other injury to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons.

FGM is practiced by ethnic groups in 27 countries in sub-Saharan and north-east Africa, in Yemen and Iraqi Kurdistan, and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Asia and within immigrant communities around the world. Though some parts in west Africa still carry out the barbaric act, it is not as common as it used to be before the 20th century.

The age at which the circumcision is done varies depending on the ethnic group. While some are done a couple of months after the child is born, other are done right before the child turns five. In some other countries, it is carried out just before the child reaches puberty.

FGM is not only recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, it has led to the death of many girls due to infection from unsterilized blades, excessive bleeding, trauma to name a few.

The procedure is typically carried out by a traditional circumciser, with a blade or razor that is often times unproperly sterilized or not sterilized at all and then used on multiple victims. Also, the cutting could be done with or without anesthesia. Meaning the victims have to endure the pain until the wound heals.

According to the United Nations, FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors.

"There is know developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman," Ban Ki - moon, United Nations Secretary - General said.

The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Though the practice has persisted for over a thousand years, programmatic evidence suggests that FGM/C can end in one generation. While UNICEF currently works in 22 countries on the elimination of FGM/C, since 2008 UNFPA and UNICEF have collaborated on the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change in 15 of those countries in West, East and North Africa.

On 20 December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146 in which it “Calls upon States, the United Nations system, civil society and all stakeholders to continue to observe 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and to use the day to enhance awareness- raising campaigns and to take concrete actions against female genital mutilations”.

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