7 February 2018

Africa: UN Renews Push to Abolish Female Genital Mutilation

Photo: Daily News
(file photo).

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the United Nations is calling for the eradication of the traditional practice, which causes extreme physical and psychological harm to millions of women and girls worldwide.

The United Nations says more than 200 million girls and women in 30 countries are currently living with the harmful and dangerous consequences of female genital mutilation. Young girls between infancy and 15 years of age are subjected to the practice, which mainly occurs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The World Health Organization reports FGM confers no benefits, only serious problems, including severe bleeding, infections, complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.

Irrefutable evidence exists regarding the many serious life-long health consequences that arise from the procedure. Nevertheless, the WHO reports the practice persists because of myths and misconceptions.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said one dangerous myth is that only girls who undergo the procedure can enter womanhood and be considered respectable.

She said people often believe there is little risk of harm for girls and women if female genital mutilation is performed by a doctor or other health care professional.

"This is not the truth.WHO is completely against any health worker helping to do this practice. FGM is a harmful practice and may lead to physical, mental and sexual health complications regardless of who performs it," said Chaib.

FGM is far from being eradicated. But, Chaib told VOA slow progress is being made in communities around the world. She cites the case of Sudan, a country that has a high level of FGM.

With the help of several U.N. agencies and financing from Britain and Ireland, she said, the practice is becoming more rare in communities across the country.

More on This

Somaliland Fatwa Forbids FGM

Authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland have issued a religious fatwa banning the practice of female… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 Voice of America. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.