UN urges countries to ban female genital mutilation

UNITED NATIONS Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:49pm IST

Senegalese women from different villages take part at a declaration against female genital mutilation or cutting in Matam, northern Senegal in this picture released by UNICEF on November 24, 2005. REUTERS/Sarah Crowe/UNICEF/Handout/Files

Senegalese women from different villages take part at a declaration against female genital mutilation or cutting in Matam, northern Senegal in this picture released by UNICEF on November 24, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Sarah Crowe/UNICEF/Handout/Files

Related Topics

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday urging countries to ban female genital mutilation, calling it an "irreparable, irreversible abuse" that threatens about three million girls annually.

The resolution, which is not legally binding, asks the 193 U.N. members to "take all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit female genital mutilations and to protect women and girls from this form of violence."

The World Health Organization estimates that about 140 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation. Campaigners liken the psychological effects of female genital mutilation to those of rape.

Female genital mutilation - the partial or total removal of external female genitalia - is prevalent in 28 African countries and parts of the Middle East and Asia, notably Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan and Indonesia.

It is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons and is also known as female circumcision.

Female genital mutilation is also found in industrialized countries among some immigrant populations. Countries where the practice is near universal include Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea.

The resolution, which was adopted by consensus, also expressed concern about "evidence of an increase in the incidence of female genital mutilations being carried out by medical personnel in all regions in which they are practiced."

"This practice, justified on false pretenses by supposed cultural and religious tenets, remains a taboo subject, misunderstood and misinterpreted in several societies," Burkina Faso's U.N. Ambassador Der Kogda told the General Assembly. Burkina Faso has led the move to try and stamp out the practice.

"We need to break the silence that has surrounded FGM (female genital mutilation) ... and move towards its elimination," Kogda said.

Some practitioners believe female genital mutilation will prevent sex before marriage and promiscuity afterwards; others say it is part of preparing a girl for womanhood and is hygienic. Opponents say it can also cause bleeding, shock, cysts and infertility, as well as severe psychological effects.

For more stories, videos and graphics please see this multimedia package on female genital mutilation by Thomson Reuters Foundation click here

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage