News / Health

    UN: Female Genital Mutilation More Widespread Than Thought

    FILE - A Masai girl holds protest sign during and anti-female genital mutilation event in Kilgoris, Kenya.
    FILE - A Masai girl holds protest sign during and anti-female genital mutilation event in Kilgoris, Kenya.

    Millions more girls and women worldwide are victims of female genital mutilation than previously thought, according to UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency.

    A report released Thursday says at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone ritual cutting, half of them living in just three countries — Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

    The latest figures include nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014, because of a raft of new data collected in Indonesia, where the practice has been banned since 2006.

    Somalia has the highest prevalence of women and girls who have been cut — 98 percent of the female population between the ages of 15 and 49. Guinea, Djibouti and Sierra Leone also have very high rates. 

    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.
    x
    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.

    Some 44 million victims of female genital mutilation around the world are aged 14 or younger, and the majority of girls who have had their genitals mutilated were cut before they were 5 years old, UNICEF's research found.

    "In Yemen, 85 percent of girls experienced the practice within their first week of life,'' the report said.

    Hard to track

    UNICEF says exact numbers are hard to come by, because few of the 30 countries where it is practiced keep reliable data on the procedure, relying primarily on household surveys.

    The practice also exists in countries not in the study, such as India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in pockets of Australia, North America and Europe, where immigrants from countries with a large number of female circumcisions live.

    The good news from the report is that, overall, prevalence rates have fallen in the last three decades, but progress has been uneven. Countries that have seen sharp declines include Liberia, Burkina Faso and Kenya.

    The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility. One of the targets in the new U.N. goals adopted last September calls for the practice to be eliminated by 2030.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: George from: USA
    February 06, 2016 5:54 PM
    The more Islamic influence, the more Sharii'a the more female genital mutilation.
    I am not a bit surprised!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! because this is true ISLAM.

    by: Az gal
    February 06, 2016 3:52 PM
    This practice is overwhelmingly Muslim, perpetrated by the women, not the men. When outlawed, it just goes underground to be performed by dirty witch doctors instead of sterile doctors. Education is key.

    by: Saanya Singh from: India
    February 05, 2016 12:32 PM
    psychological effects of FGM?
    FGM may have lasting effects on women and girls who undergo FGM. The psychological stress of the procedure may trigger behavioural disturbances in children, closely linked to loss of trust and confidence in caregivers. In the longer term, women may suffer feelings of anxiety and depression. Sexual dysfunction may also contribute to marital conflicts or divorce.

    by: Danny
    February 05, 2016 4:04 AM
    And in other news, genital mutilation was found to be widespread, almost universal, in the good ol' US of A.

    But those are male babies, so screw them. Save the girls only.
    In Response

    by: Barbara from: Bremerton
    February 05, 2016 3:25 PM
    What is done to a female is mutilation so is very different from what is done to males. Suggest you do some research to learn the difference.

    by: Donna from: Washington
    February 04, 2016 11:41 PM
    What about male mutilation? Should we not stop that as well?
    In Response

    by: Jabka Almaas from: Nairobi, Kenya
    February 05, 2016 2:05 AM
    Unlike America, thanks to God, we have only Female Genital Mutilation in Africa. Males are protected!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora