News / Asia

Female Genital Mutilation Threatens 3 Million Girls Each Year

People gather around teenage girls from Uganda's Sebei tribe who have just undergone female genital mutilation in Bukwa district, about 357 kms (214 miles) northeast of Kampala (File Photo).
People gather around teenage girls from Uganda's Sebei tribe who have just undergone female genital mutilation in Bukwa district, about 357 kms (214 miles) northeast of Kampala (File Photo).

International agencies are calling for an end to female genital mutilation, which every year threatens some three million girls in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and in some Western countries. The appeal is part of the observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide currently live with the consequences of female circumcision, in which the female external sexual organs are partially or totally removed.   

The procedure, also known as female genital mutilation, is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. Advocacy groups agree it has no health benefits for girls and women and can cause severe bleeding and many other serious physical and psychological complications throughout life.  

The practice continues mainly in 28 African countries.

The Director of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, Berhane-Ras-Work, calls female genital mutilation torture. She says the practice persists because it is deeply rooted in tradition. This patriarchal system, she says, is embraced by the community and even by the women, despite the suffering and pain they go through.

"The patriarchal system has fabricated a lot of control mechanisms in order to keep women subordinate, in order to manipulate women, in order for a woman to be a subordinate wife to her husband," she said. "Women go as far as accepting to be mutilated in order to be eligible, in order to be a virgin, in order to be faithful to her husband, in order to be acceptable by the community."  

The International Organization for Migration says female circumcision is spreading with global migration.   It says the practice is now a reality in many immigrant communities in countries in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand,

But, progress toward eliminating this procedure is being made.

Twenty African nations now have laws against female circumcision. And, figures show a drop in prevalence by 50 percent or more in eight countries.

The World Health Organization is campaigning to stop the so-called medicalization of female genital mutilation. Elise Johansen, a medical officer in WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, says more health providers in some African and Western countries are carrying out this procedure.

"This is a more serious concern almost than we expected because last year there was an American Association for Pediatrics who promoted that health care providers should reach out to the communities and offer a ritual nick," said Johansen. "WHO and other UN agencies and professional organizations and NGO’s struck back very fast and they have withdrawn it."  

Dr. Johansen says occasionally, suggestions are made to allow some sort of medical intervention believing it to be a form of harm reduction that will satisfy cultural needs.   

But, she notes there is no evidence this will do any good.  On the contrary, she says WHO and its partners are worried this will promote and help continue the practice of female circumcision.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid