Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Facts about FGM
Source: United Nations
- Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.
- Female genital mutilation is in decline in many countries. But if it persists at current levels, rapid population growth in countries where it is concentrated will significantly increase the number of girls subjected to it.
- 68 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation between 2015 and 2030.
- Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia at 98 per cent, Guinea at 97 per cent, Djibouti 93 per cent and Egypt at 87 per cent.
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
- Girls who undergo female genital mutilation face short-term complications like severe pain, shock, excessive bleeding, infections, and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual and reproductive health and mental health.
- Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances between men and women – and it sustains them by limiting opportunities for girls and women to realize their rights and full potential in terms of health, education and income.
- Female genital mutilation violates the human rights of women and girls, contravening established principles, norms and standards including non-discrimination on the basis of sex; the rights to health, physical integrity and life; the right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the rights of the child.
- The Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 calls for an end to FGM by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Target 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
- Eliminating female genital mutilation is a critical step towards realizing other SDGs, which focus on good health and well-being, safe motherhood, quality education, inclusive societies and economic growth.
- The elimination of FGM has been called for by numerous inter-governmental organizations, including the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as in three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.
In July 2018, the UN Secretary-General produced the report Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation. It states that efforts to end these practices should also target the groups of women and girls who are most at risk, in particular, those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including refugee and migrant women, women living in rural and remote communities and young girls, so as to leave no one behind.