FGM: UN agencies call for new measures to end practice

Genital mutilation: Photo used to illustrate the story
Genital mutilation: Photo used to illustrate the story

The relevant agencies of the United Nations have called for new policies to end the practice of female genital mutilation across the world.

The agencies made the call in a statement issued on Wednesday in commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

The statement was signed by Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA);

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women.

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day that takes place on February 6. It is part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a traditional practice of partially or totally removing the external genitalia of girls and young women for non-medical reasons.

FGM leads to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences. It violates women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment.

It is also a violation of medical ethics: Female genital mutilation is never safe, no matter who carries it out or how clean the venue is.

According to the statement, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have had their genitals mutilated – suffering one of the most inhuman acts of gender-based violence in the world.

It called on religious leaders to help in striking down the myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion.

“In 2015, world leaders overwhelmingly backed the elimination of female genital mutilation as one of the targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is an achievable goal, and we must act now to translate that political commitment into action.”

The statement called on governments in countries where the practice is prevalent to develop national action plans to end it.

“Because female genital mutilation is a form of gender-based violence, we cannot address it in isolation from other forms of violence against women and girls, or other harmful practices such as early and forced marriages.


RIPAN Campaign AD

“To end female genital mutilation, we have to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and work for women’s social and economic empowerment.

“At the national level, we need new policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination.

“Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent should also develop national action plans to end the practice. To be effective, their plans must include budget lines dedicated to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, education, social welfare and legal services.”

“The recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2016 -2017) shows some decline in the incidence of FGM in Nigeria, 18.4 per cent of women aged 15-49 years now undergo FGM; a decrease from 27 per cent in 2011.

“Despite this decline, millions of girls and women are still faced with the scourge of genital mutilation every year in Nigeria. There is, therefore, an urgent need for decision makers and political leaders to take concrete action towards ending the harmful practice of FGM in Nigeria”, said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Country representative.

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.