Senior United Nations authorities have made bold declarations condemning female genital mutilation (FGM). It is expected that by 2030, this human practice that puts in compromise the mental and physical health of women, will be eradicated, said U.N. officials. Institutions like UNICEF and the U.N. are already promoting an awareness campaign, since the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is going to take place on February 6.

The act of cutting the genitals of a woman is against human rights, said the U.N. in a press release on Friday. It is calculated that approximately 200 million girls and women alive today have suffered from genital mutilation in at least 30 countries, according to a report published by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), most of them living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

According to UN officials, it is expected that by 2030, female genital mutilation practice will be eradicated. Credit: Independent UK

Female genital mutilation varies from country to country and differs across cultures, however, it usually involves health risks that are life-threatening, said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta. According to statistics, 44 million of mutilated girls are younger than 15 years old.

“All of us must join in this call. There simply is no place for FGM in the future we are striving to create – a future where every girl will grow up able to experience her inherent dignity, human rights and equality by 2030,” said UN Population Fund Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a statement.

Gambia, Mauritania, Indonesia, Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti, are among the regions with the highest percentages of young girls who have undergone FGM. Just in 2014, about 70 million girls and women worldwide had their sexual organs cut.

Mr. Rao Gupta said that determining the impact and magnitude of genital mutilation is fundamental in order to eliminate the practice. That being said, he encouraged governments to collect and provide data about statistics on FGM, to immediately take actions to protect the human rights of millions of girls and women.

Hopefully, more than 150,000 regions from 20 countries have abandoned the practice since 2008. Furthermore, five countries have issued national laws in order to criminalize FGM. However, more actions need to be taken or the rates will continue to increase, the U.N. says.

Ban Ki-moon’s bold statement

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that possibilities of eradicating the practice of genital mutilation are huge. In fact, eliminating FGM is part of the Global Goals published by the U.N. last year. That is why February 6 is going to be declared as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Mutilation.

Ban Ki-moon is requesting support from civil society, health providers, the media, young people, and governments to empower communities to make a change.

“Never before has it been more urgent to end the practice of female genital mutilation, preventing immeasurable human suffering and boosting the power of women and girls to have a positive impact on our world,” he added on Friday. “We can end FGM within a generation, bringing us closer to a world where the human rights of all every woman, child and adolescent are fully respected, their health is protected, and they can contribute more to our common future.”

Source: UN News Centre