International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation 2017

"zero tolerance for" Fgm Awareness Day 2017

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is a UN-sponsored awareness day that takes place February 6 each year since 2003. February 6th has been dedicated to the intolerance of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM.) One of the beliefs in support for this day acknowledges that culture is in “constant flux,” and with the concerns begetting FGM being so high-risk, the abolition of such practices must be prompt. This is a movement for the rights of women and their bodies, as well as the protection of their physical health- which can be tremendously affected later in life. These efforts are to benefit actions fighting violence against women and girls as a whole. Every Woman, Every Child (a global movement), reports that “Although primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, FGM is a universal problem and is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America. FGM continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.” In the United States alone, the recent reports of how many women and young girls are affected by FGM staggeringly tripled in numbers in comparison to the previous reports in 1990. About 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM over the years and currently at least 3 million girls are at risk each year, in accord to data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is an effort to make the world aware of female genital mutilation (also called FGM) and to promote its eradication.The World Health Organization has said that "Though the practice has persisted for over a thousand years, programmatic evidence suggests that FGM/C can end in one generation."

What is FGM?

FGM comprises all procedures that involve the partial or total removal or the external female genitalia, or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

The practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. It violates their rights to health, security, physical integrity, their right to live a life free from torture and cruel and inhumane treatment and their right to life when the procedures results in death.

According to the World Health Organization, the practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. However, more than 18% of all FGM is performed by healthcare providers – and the trend towards medicalisation is increasing.

Fgm Awareness Day 2017

Why is FGM carried out?

FGM has no health benefits, causing only harm and distress to victims. The procedure takes place for a variety of cultural, social and religious beliefs, which include family honour and ensuring a girl is marriageable. Other reasons are: social acceptance, preservation of virginity, chastity, custom and hygiene. In some cases, it is wrongly believed FGM will enhance fertility and make childbirth safer.

Current Legislation Regarding FGM

There are laws regarding the banning of FGM both in the United States and in other nations. In the United States, “the federal law addressing FGM in the U.S. is 18 U.S. Code § 116 ‘Female Genital Mutilation.’ The law makes it illegal to perform FGM in the U.S. or knowingly transport a girl out of the U.S. for purpose of inflicting FGM.”

In 1996, Equality Now began a campaign against the detention of a 17-year-old girl, Fauziya Kassindja. She had escaped from Togo, a West- African country who traditionally practices FGM, as she was fleeing from FGM as well as a forced marriage in 1994. A ground-breaking decision allowed her to be granted asylum in the U.S. shortly after the campaign. This case served as a catalyst towards FGM as being a form of gender-based persecution that permitted women the ability to seek asylum in the U.S if endangered. Shortly following the events surrounding Fauziya’s case, the federal law banning FGM was passed in the U.S.

The US also recognized that girls residing in the US were being taken out of the country for “vacations” to countries that their parents had relating descent from and receiving the treatment in those countries while they were away. On April 26, 2010 Congressman Joseph Crowley and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack introduced The Girls’ Protection Act (H.R. 5137), which is a bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by over 138 Members of Congress in addition to the support from Equality Now, to address this gaping loophole of girls receiving the procedure out of the country.

The year 2012 was significant for activism towards intolerance of FGM. In 2012, the UNFPA observed the day on the 8th of February, which included a special high level event held at the United Nations in New York. In August 2012, the “U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally” was introduced by the U.S. D.O.S. (Department of State) alongside the U.S. Agency for International Development, which explicitly defines FGM as a form of violence against women and girls. Again in 2012 in the latter month of December, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146, a resolution that calls upon states within the inclusive representation of the United Nations system, civil society and stakeholders together to continue to observe 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and to use the day to enhance awareness- raising campaigns and to take concrete actions against female genital mutilations”.

Countries where FGM is frequently that currently have some form of written legislation concerning FGM or events surrounding FGM such as deliberate harm to a child include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and more.

Fgm Awareness Day 2017


1.Globally, it is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.

2.If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between ages 15 and 19 be subjected to it by 2030.

3.Girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence of FGM among this age in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have undergone the practice.

4.Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia 98 per cent, Guinea 97 per cent and Djibouti 93 per cent.

5.FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.

6.FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.

7.FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

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