The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) observed today aims to eliminate procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, violating the rights of millions of women and girls while threatening their lives and futures.
Although progress was achieved in recent years, it is estimated that more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where FGM is most prevalent and data exist. If current trends continue, some 86 million young girls worldwide are likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030.
“We should strive to preserve the best in any culture, and leave harm behind”, said the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement to mark the Day. “There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman.”
A landmark Resolution was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2012 to intensify global efforts to eliminate FGM.
Since 2008 UNFPA and UNICEF have collaborated on a Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, helping to accelerate change in 15 countries in West, East and North Africa.
“The challenges we face are not insurmountable, noted UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “If we work together, we can further accelerate its abandonment and strengthen the momentum for change through our concerted and collective efforts.”