News / Health

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    FILE - Masai girl holds protest sign during anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) run in Kilgoris, Kenya.
    FILE - Masai girl holds protest sign during anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) run in Kilgoris, Kenya.
    Lisa Schlein

    United Nations and human rights organizations are calling for a complete stop to the harmful practice of female genital mutilation, which affects millions of women and girls worldwide. The call for a global ban comes as the world commemorates Saturday the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

    Women and girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation for millennia, with the earliest recorded excisions having been performed on Egyptian girls in 25 BC. Indeed, Egypt in the 21st century remains one of the countries where FGM is most frequently performed.

    A recent report by the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries. The study notes half of these so-called "cuttings" have occurred in three countries — Egypt, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.

    Human rights issue

    FGM is widely practiced in countries in Africa and the Middle East. Tarek Jasarevic, spokesman for the World Health Organization, says the procedure involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs. He says there is no medical reason for this intervention.

    FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.
    FILE - А traditional surgeon is seen holding razor blades used to carry out female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation.

    “It is a violation of the human rights of girls and women and has no health benefits. It harms girls and women in many ways… FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometimes between infancy and age 15,” Jasarevic said.

    FGM can cause severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. Some women and girls subjected to this procedure die. Many of those who survive suffer severe psychological consequences.

    Limited progress

    There are cultural and social factors for performing FGM. A commonly cited reason is the need to prepare girls for adulthood and marriage by reducing their sexual desire to maintain their virginity before marriage and fidelity during marriage. There is no religious basis for this practice.

    Human rights expert Benyam Mezmur tells VOA a growing number of countries are passing laws criminalizing FGM, but their impact is limited.

    “Even though in the presence of laws, in some instance they are not explicit, in some instance even when they are explicit, they are not enforced — and again, traditional leaders, religious leaders also have a role to play,” he said.

    FILE - A mother carrying an infant on her back attends a meeting of women from several communities eradicating female genital mutilation, in Diabougo, Senegal.
    FILE - A mother carrying an infant on her back attends a meeting of women from several communities eradicating female genital mutilation, in Diabougo, Senegal.

    U.N. agencies warn the overall rate of progress toward ending FGM is not enough to keep up with population growth. They say the number of girls and women subjected to this barbaric practice will increase significantly over the next 15 years if current trends continue.

     

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: samuel pintilie from: Chicago USA
    February 06, 2016 10:21 PM
    Circumcision and Female Genital mutilation is an Evil and SATANIC act. THE FIRING SQUAD INSTANTLY is the only solution for those Evil IDIOTS who perform such horrible acts on children.
    Men and women was created just perfect as can be, there is no need for men to cut any portion of the humans body !
    I just can't stop thinking how stupid and Idiots people can be to perform such inhumane acts, I have seen it on you tube.

    by: Atom Bruce McKellar
    February 06, 2016 10:48 AM
    It is an unsolvable problem as long as there is Islam as it is sanctioned by Islamic law:

    “Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax
    February 07, 2016 1:52 AM
    I'm not Muslim nor Christian but its internationally known that male and female circumcisions were widely practiced by human being before Islam showed up into our door steps. Jewish and Arabs are culturally required to cut piece of their penis for purity. While in Africa, christians, muslims and so called black "pagans" do collectively and widely practice FGM. One has got to know religion has nothing to do with any kind of circumcision.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora