Zero tolerance for female genital mutilation

6 February is International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM

Like all forms of violence against women and children, FGM needs to be fought every day, to prevent the horrendous suffering it causes. The best place to start is by understanding the facts and linking up with the many groups and organisations that are dedicated to eliminating the practice.

According to the UN, globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.

  • Girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence of FGM among this age in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have undergone the practice.
  • Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia 98 per cent, Guinea 97 per cent and Djibouti 93 per cent.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 calls for an end to FGM by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Target 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
  • The elimination of FGM has been called for by numerous inter-governmental organizations, including the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as in three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.

UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The programme  focuses on 17 African countries and also supports regional and global initiatives.

There are several civil society groups working to end FGM. These include the Equality Now End FGM Campaign.