Thursday, November 24, 2005


UNICEF calls for an end to Female Genital Mutilation

A young African woman undergoes the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). UNICEF announced that approximately 3 million women in Africa and the Middle East are affected by this practice each year

I must applaud UNICEF for calling for an end to this gruesome and barbaric practice. A Nov 24th article on quoted a U.N. report that estimated that three million young women in Africa and the Middle East will undergo genital mutilation in the coming year - an increase of 1 million from previous estimates. It horrifies me to to think this practice, that can result in trauma and even death not only continues but may be increasing. This cruel and disturbing practice, known as "female circumcision," or FGM, can range from piercing to severe disfugurement of the genitalia, and is believed to "enhance a woman's beauty, honor, social status and chastity" and is, according to UNICEF "one of the most persistent and silently endured human rights violations." There are degrees of severity and many of the practitioners are untrained and use crude instruments. "It takes at least two people to circumcise a girl, one to hold her legs and the other her arms," said Ourey Sall, a woman who for years performed the procedure. "Afterwards, we apply a mixture of goat droppings and plants to stop the bleeding." In fact, the UNICEF report states that "Many girls enter a state of shock induced by the severe pain, psychological trauma and exhaustion from screaming," that occurs during the mutilation.

The UNICEF survey showed the incidence to be highest in Guinea, Egypt and Sudan, each with a 90 percent rate of mutilation. Small decreases were reported in Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Yemen.

WHO Factsheet: What is female genital mutilation?

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