FGM Still a Thorn in the Flesh: UNICEF Report Shows


There are no health benefits to FGM and it is recognised internationally as a human rights violation

Previous reports indicated that;

“60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK

137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK

Over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM

FGM is practiced in more than 29 countries across Africa, parts of the Middle East, South East Asia and countries where migrants from FGM affected communities live”

According to the latest report by UNICEF, Millions more girls and women worldwide are victims of female genital mutilation than previously thought

At least 200 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female genital mutilation with half of those living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia, according to the UN children’s agency.

The latest figures include nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014, because of a raft of new data collected in Indonesia, where the practice has been banned since 2006.

Somalia has the highest prevalence of women and girls who have been cut — 98 percent of the female population between the ages of 15 and 49. Guinea, Djibouti and Sierra Leone also have very high rates.

Some 44 million victims of female genital mutilation around the world are aged 14 or younger, and the majority of girls who have had their genitals mutilated were cut before they were 5 years old, UNICEF’s research found.

“In Yemen, 85 percent of girls experienced the practice within their first week of life,” the report said.

There is Progress

The good news from the report is that, overall, prevalence rates have fallen in the last three decades, but progress has been uneven. Countries that have seen sharp declines include Liberia, Burkina Faso and Kenya.

In Birmingham for example, FGM victims are reporting two cases daily while a case is reported every 109 minutes in England.

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women’s sexuality and enhances fertility. One of the targets in the new U.N. goals adopted last September calls for the practice to be eliminated by 2030.

“In countries like Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti, the practice is practically universal,” said Claudia Cappa, the lead author of the report.

Overall, the prevalence of FGM among teenage girls has dropped in the 30 countries, from 51%

Since 2008, more than 15,000 communities have abandoned FGM including 2,000 last year alone.

Five countries have passed laws criminalizing the practice: Kenya, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau and recently Nigeria and Gambia in 2015.

The new legislation in Gambia is seen as a major step forward as the country has the highest prevalence of FGM among girls 14 and younger – 56%.

Some 54% of girls under 14 have undergone FGM in Mauritania as have about half of girls 11 and younger in Indonesia.

Despite gains, the rate of progress does not keep up with population growth, said Cappa, who called for stepped up efforts to address FGM

More people like Kakenya Ntaiya and organizations including the government need to step up to keep the vice at bay.



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