FGM: UN calls for end of violent practice by 2030

UN figures show a further 15 million girls between 15 and 19 years old are at risk of FGM before 2030

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for the end of female genital mutilation (FGM) by 2030.

The UN estimates that if current trends continue, 15 million more girls between 15 and 19 will be cut within the next 14 years.

Speaking after the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on 6 February, Ban Ki-moon said there has been tremendous progress since 2007, when the first global consultation on the matter was held.

“Since 2007 more than a dozen countries have enacted measures to prevent FGM,” he said. “More than 950 legal cases have been prosecuted. More than 10,000 doctors, nurses and midwives have got training on the issue. We are working to extend legal protection everywhere.”

The Secretary General said the UN summit on Monday in New York “celebrated women’s empowerment”. He called for FGM to be re-named “Focus on Girls’ Minds” or “Finally Girls Matter”.

In the past 10 years, funding to fight FGM has increased by 600%, he added.

Over 200 million women alive today have suffered from FGM, which involves cutting and removing female external genitalia like the outer labia and the clitoris. At least 44 million of those women were aged less than 14 years when they were cut.

FGM is practised widely in Africa, Latin America and Asia, as well as many reported cases in the US and Europe.

“It violates their human rights and is a persistent reminder of gender equality. Until we do this, equality amongst is out of reach,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund.

Indonesia’s Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise said female circumcision will continue, “as long as the demand persists.”

In a video shown to the delegates, 14-year-old Angès said: “They grabbed my legs and arms. They excised me. Blood was coming out.”

One survivor and representative at the UN summit said cutting her made her feel like she “wasn’t worth it – who was I? I felt like I would not become a woman.”

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