The World has today marked International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) day. The day comes just eighteen days after a Kenyan woman moved to Court to legalize the internationally condemned practice citing that a woman can do better what men can do.
An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which usually involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia and can cause a host serious health problem, health experts say.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls.
The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.
To enhance the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. These efforts should emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice.
They must also address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) jointly with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) lead the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM. The programme currently focuses on 17 African countries and also supports regional and global initiatives.
This Day also falls under the ongoing Spotlight Initiative, a joint project of the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.
One of the specific threads of the Spotlight Initiative targets sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, which include female genital mutilation.