Female genital mutilation

“With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres

FGM refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genetilia or the injury to the female genetal organs for cultural or other non-medical reasons.

The prcatice of FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights of girls and women, it’s a form of discrimination against women that directly shows the disproportionality  gender inequality. First of all it’s a violation of fundamental rights to be free from torture, violates women’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, and the most important the right to have a choice and chose for yourself, to live when this type of procedure of FGM results in death.

FGM was banned by law in a lot of countries with penalties range from minimum 6 months and sometimes to maximum life prison, some countries include monetary fines. While is deliberated as illegal, various society believe and consider the practice part of their cultural traditions. But living in now day’s culture is constantly changing and adapting to people needs, moreover cultural arguments can’t be used as an excuse of violence against humans, male or female.

The World Health Organization has classified four types of FGM:

  1. Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of clitoris.
  2. Excision: the partial or total removal of clitoris and the labia minora.
  3. Infibulation: the narrowing of the vaginal opening trough the creation of a covering seal, by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora.
  4. This includes all other harmful procedures to the female genetilia for no-medical purposes, incising, pricking, and cauterizing the genital area.

FGM increase the risks of health consequences directly and later in life, there is no health befits or justification from cutting or harm to the genitals of girls and women, it has to be unacceptable and inadmissible from a public health and human rights perspective.

Immediate difficulty, complexity includes: severe pain, fever, infections, excessive bleeding, urinary problems, and sometimes it can bring to death.

Long term and later in life importance and consequences: need for later surgeries, vaginal and urinary problems, sexual problems and all these issues followed by psychological problems (depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anxiety, etc.).

This procedure mostly engage in risk young girls, it starts sometime from 3 months between infancy and adolescence, girls of14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, and rarely on adult women.  U.N says that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. From the past studies UNICEF hopes that with the support of governments, communities and religious leaders, practice will be widely abandoned by 2030.

In the last years the European Union and its Member States have taken steps towards the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which is the first legally binding treaty recognizing that FGM is a European issue.

There is a platform that galvanize European Institutions, policy makers, professionals dealing with FGM, NGO’s, affected communities, FGM survivors and funding partners to join our efforts for lasting change in Europe and beyond. The End FGM European Network is a European umbrella network of 19 organizations working to ensure sustainable European action to end female genital mutilation. http://www.endfgm.eu/

On 6th of February was established “International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation”http://www.un.org/en/events/femalegenitalmutilationday/, this day also falls under the ongoing Spotlight Initiative http://www.un.org/en/spotlight-initiative/ ,to eliminate violence against women and girls.

Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation is an interagency statement of: OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNADP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO.http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw52/statements_missions/Interagency_Statement_on_Eliminating_FGM.pdf

This Interagency Statement expresses the common commitment of these organizations to continue working towards the elimination FGM, progress has been achieved on a number of fronts: FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights, policies and legislations to prohibit the practice have been put in many countries, and most importantly there are indications that the processes od social change leading to abandonments of the practice are under way in a number of countries.

The Sustainable Development goals in 2015 calls for an end to FGM by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality, to eliminate all harmful practices.

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