Tomorrow will mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation. A day in which States are called to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of FGM.
Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Female genital mutilations are an irreparable, irreversible abuse that impacts negatively on the human rights of women and girls, affecting about 200 million of women and girls worldwide, and that each year an estimated further 3 million girls are at risk of being subjected to the practice throughout the world. According to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A global Concern, a report published by UNICEF, half of the girls and women who have been cut live in three countries: Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Still, the exact number of girls and women worldwide who have undergone FGM remains unknown.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a milestone resolution calling on the international community to intensify efforts to end the practice. More recently, in September 2015, the global community agreed to a new set of development goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes a target under Goal 5 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM/C, by the year 2030. Nevertheless, despite the increase in national, regional and international efforts and the focus on the abandonment of female genital mutilations, the practice continues to exist in all regions of the world.
To promote the abandonment of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, and they must engage whole communities and focus on human rights and gender equality. These efforts should emphasize societal dialogue and the empowerment of communities to act collectively to end the practice. From this point of view, the empowerment of women and girls is key to breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and for the promotion and protection of human rights.