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Time to Abandon Female Genital Mutilation

Today, on the Day for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the Center for Reproductive Rights calls on governments worldwide to take immediate steps to end the practice.  They must enact and implement laws to prohibit FGM, while also working to empower women and promote respect for their basic human rights.

FGM Threatens the Health of Women and Girls

FGM is the collective name given to a number of cultural practices that involve the partial or total cutting of female genitals.  Most prevalent in Africa, FGM is also practiced in parts of Asia and the Middle East, as well as among immigrant women in industrialized countries, including Europe and North America. 

The practice threatens the physical and psychological health of women and girls.  It can also contribute to maternal death and disability and increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.

FGM Violates the Human Rights of Women and Girls

The international community has recognized that FGM violates the human rights of women and girls, including the right to bodily integrity, health, and non-discrimination.  Still, the World Health Organization estimates that 100 - 140 million girls and women worldwide suffer from the harmful consequences of FGM.  Another three million are at risk of being mutilated every year.