also in french, spanish and arabic – Linked on our blogs with Equality Now, with Give someone you never met, a gift they will never forget, with Clinic to fight taboo of female mutilation, and with Campaign Against FGM.
Published on Equality Now.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), a fundamental human rights violation, takes different forms in different countries: the partial or total removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy), the removal of the entire clitoris and the cutting of the labia minora (excision), or in its most extreme form the removal of all external genitalia and the stitching together of the two sides of the vulva (infibulation). It is estimated that more than 130 million girls and women around the world have undergone genital mutilation. At least 2 million girls every year—6,000 each day—are at risk of suffering FGM.
The cutting, which is generally done without anesthetic, may have lifelong health consequences including chronic infection, severe pain during urination, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and childbirth, and psychological trauma. Some girls die from the cutting, usually as a result of bleeding or infection.
Although FGM is practiced in the name of tradition and culture in many countries, many grassroots organizations in these countries are fighting within the same tradition and culture to eradicate it. Equality Now has undertaken a number of initiatives to support the campaign against FGM, including the following Women’s Actions:
- Enactment of a law against FGM in Mali.
- Protesting the failure to enforce the law against FGM in Tanzania.
- Ending government censorship of the campaign to stop FGM in The Gambia.
- Recognizing FGM as a basis for political asylum in the United States (the case of Fauziya Kassindja).
- Ending government efforts to medicalize FGM in Egypt.
- Protesting the failure of UNICEF to fund efforts to stop FGM.
In 1997, Equality Now created Awaken, a forum designed to facilitate communication among activists campaigning against FGM and the exchange of information, ideas and strategies to stop the practice. Awaken is published in English, French, and Arabic. Email subscriptions are available free of charge.
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