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.

     

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    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.

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