Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This resolution was one of five passed yesterday to advance the rights of girls and women worldwide.
Approximately 140 million girls and women across the globe are affected by FGM, and each year an additional three million girls are at risk of being subjected to the practice. In Africa, it is estimated that 92 million girls under the age of 10 have undergone FGM. FGM can result in severe bleeding, urinary difficulties, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth, and is widely recognized as a human rights violation.
The resolution calls on countries to condemn all harmful practices which affect girls and women, and to enforce legislation and awareness campaigns to prevent these practices. Particular attention and support is called upon for survivors of FGM, and for those at risk, such as refugee women.
“This is a very important step to bringing about cultural and attitudinal change. Just as important though, is working on the ground with governments, communities and other partners to end FGM. UN Women’s experience in Burkina Faso, Benin and other countries shows that while efforts to criminalize FGM are vital, they need to be backed up with services for victims, engaging key influencers and supporting community-based activities to change social norms, as well as practical actions to bring perpetrators to justice,” said John Hendra, UN Women Assistant-Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director.
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