Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Zero Tolerance: The Mutilation of Girls Must End

The number of victims is much higher than previously thought ...

Female genital mutilation is more widespread than ever before — and not limited to Africa, as often believed. Previous estimates counted 130 million victims. New data raises that total to 200 million. The countries with the highest prevalence are Somalia (98 percent) and Guinea (97 percent).
Half of the affected live in three countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia. UNICEF estimates that 60 million women and girls have been cut in Indonesia alone.

The practice affects girls and women in every region of the world ...

There is evidence that FGM occurs in India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and even in some places in South America. The practice persists in immigrant communities throughout Europe and even in the United States as families bring the custom with them from their countries of origin.

The practice takes many forms ...

FGM differs across regions and cultures, often involving life-threatening health risks. In most countries, the majority of girls were cut before reaching their fifth birthday. In every case, FGM is not just an "old custom"; it is a severe violation of human rights.
At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries.© UNICEF SEB-1389/SEBASTIAN RICH
Odmangal C. has performed more than 1,000 FGM procedures on children in Chad. She has never cleaned the blade. She believes doing so would destroy its magic.

UNICEF is co-leading a global fight to stop FGM ...

UNICEF works in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the largest global effort to eliminate the violent practice. UNICEF is working to fight FGM at every level, from advocating on a one-on-one personal level to working within communities and with governments to change health care practices, human rights policies and legislation. 
UNICEF also provides medical and psychosocial care for girls who have been harmed and traumatized by mutilation.

The time for ZERO TOLERANCE is now ...

The international community’s commitment to eliminating FGM is stronger than ever before. Last year, 193 nations unanimously agreed to a new global target of eliminating FGM by 2030. Since 2008, five countries have passed legislation criminalizing the practice: Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Uganda and, most recently, Nigeria and the Gambia in 2015.
More than 15,000 communities in 20 countries have publicly declared that they are abandoning FGM, including more than 2,000 last year. The majority of people in countries where FGM data exist — including boys and men — think the practice should end.
But if current trends continue, population growth will outpace progress over the next 15 years, and the number of women subjected to FMG will rise dramatically. For those millions of girls who continue to be terrified and hurt, the time for zero tolerance is now.

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