International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: We must #EndFGM

NEW YORK - 6 February 2019: Around the world, 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is both a human rights violation and a harmful practice which can have devastating health, emotional and developmental consequences for girls and women.

FGM continues to be prevalent in about 28 African countries, in some countries in the Middle East and Asia, as well as among immigrant communities in diverse countries around the world. This gender-based form of violence violates the rights of girls to protection from violence, dignity, privacy and bodily integrity. It also violates medical ethics: FGM is never safe, no matter how or where it is carried out, or by whom.

“FGM is a serious form of violence, yet it often remains hidden and socially accepted despite the serious and lifelong impact on the lives of girls and women,” said UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais.

However, there are positive developments continually being built upon, such as significant legal reforms introduced in countries across the globe to prohibit FGM and more broadly all forms of violence against children. The elimination of female genital mutilation is also a specific, achievable target (5.3) within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Experiences from across the world show us that real change is within reach. With strong political commitment, effective legislation and the active involvement of families, communities, traditional and religious leaders and children themselves in social change and implementation, ending FGM is a goal that can be reached within a generation.”

“Let us all join hands to end FGM and to ensure that girls around the world enjoy a life free from violence!”

For more information on FGM and other harmful practices, please read the SRSG-VAC “Protecting Children from Harmful Practices in Plural Legal Systems” report.