200 million women and girls are victims of female genital mutilation

200 million women and girls are victims of female genital mutilation

UNICEF plans to completely end FGM by 2030
Worldwide, more than 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have experienced some form of female genital mutilation (FGM) and UNICEF fears that this number will increase every year. Around half of all circumcised women worldwide currently come from three countries. Despite information and protests, the circumcision of young girls is still very common not only in these countries. UNICEF is committed to hopefully making such cruel interventions a thing of the past.

Little girls are still undergoing some form of genital mutilation (FGM) every day. Female genital mutilation refers to a number of procedures, but whichever method is used, the type of circumcision violates children's rights and threatens their health. Ahead of the International Days Against Female Genital Mutilation, the United Nations released a new statistical report and a recent press release to call for a full ban on the process.

Half of all women with FGM live in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia
At least 200 million women and girls have been subjected to some form of genital mutilation. In some countries, this cruel procedure is still widespread. About half of these women come from the three countries Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia, the experts explain. Female genital mutilation differs in all regions and cultures. Some forms of FGM can have life-threatening consequences and all violate the rights of girls and women, explains Geeta Rao Gupta from UNICEF. Governments, health professionals, community leaders, parents and families must all step up their efforts to abolish this horrific practice.

Number of women with FGM has increased by around 70 million since 2014
Fourteen-year-old girls represent 44 million victims of FGM. Of these girls, 56 percent live in The Gambia and 54 percent in Mauritania. In Indonesia, about half of all eleven-year-old girls have already been subjected to such an inhumane practice, the scientists say. The countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia with 98 percent, Guinea with 97 percent and Djibouti with 93 percent, the experts explain. In most countries, girls would be circumcised before they reach their fifth birthday. The researchers warn that the worldwide number of circumcised women has increased by almost 70 million compared to 2014. The main reason is the rapid population growth. Measuring the amount of female genital mutilation is important to eliminate this practice, UNICEF researchers say. When governments document the cases and publish national statistics on FGM, the extent becomes apparent and efforts to protect the rights of women and girls are accelerated.

Five countries passed laws against FGM
Since 2008, more than 15,000 municipalities and sub-districts in twenty countries have publicly declared that genital mutilation is no longer permitted. In the past year alone, more than 2,000 municipalities joined the measure and announced that they would no longer carry out FGM in the future. Five countries have now passed national laws that criminalize this cruel practice, say UNICEF experts. The data also show that there is widespread rejection of practice, even in countries where FGM is still being carried out. Many people there think that FGM should be abolished. This includes almost two thirds of the boys and men, explain the doctors. Nevertheless, if the current trend continues, the number of circumcised girls and women will increase over the next 15 years, researchers warn. UNICEF and UNFPA operate the largest global program to combat FGM. The goal is to completely banish female genital mutilation by 2030. (as)

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