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:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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