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" /> Voice Out Digital “The practice of female genital mutilation is declining, but not fast enough” Says UNICEF | Voice Out Digital
Published On: Fri, Mar 8th, 2024

“The practice of female genital mutilation is declining, but not fast enough” Says UNICEF

According to a report by UNICEF says that the percentage of women and girls who experience female genital mutilation is declining but it warned that efforts to eradicate the practice are too slow to keep up with fast-growing populations.

The report further stated that the practice, which is incorrectly believed to control women’s sexuality can cause serious bleeding and even death and that girls are subjected to the procedure at ages ranging from infancy to adolescence. Adding that in the long term, it can lead to urinary tract infections, menstrual problems, pain, decreased sexual satisfaction and childbirth complications, as well as depression, low self-esteem and post-traumatic stress disorder.

UNICEF estimated in the report which was released on International Women’s Day indicating that some 30 million people in the last eight years have undergone the procedure, in which external genitalia are partially or fully removed, which was released on International Women’s Day.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell highlighted that they are also seeing a worrying trend that more girls are subjected to the practice at younger ages, many before their fifth birthday, which they say further reduces the window for UNICEF to intervene. She added that some 144 million women and girls have been through female genital mutilation in Africa alone, followed by Asia and the Middle East with 80 million and 6 million respectively.

The report further stated that Somalia tops the list of countries where the practice, also known as female circumcision, is prevalent, with 99% of the female population between the ages of 15 and 49 having been circumcised. And Burkina Faso made the most significant progress, reducing the proportion of women between 15 and 49 who were circumcised from 80% to 30% over three decades.

The report also points out that 4 in every 10 survivors live in conflict-torn countries with high population growth rates, adding that political instability disrupts efforts to prevent the practice and provide support to victims. Adding that Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sudan account for the largest numbers of girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation in conflict-affected countries.

Although the report commend the progress made in some countries, but the report warned that the world is falling short of what would be needed to meet the U.N. ‘s goal of eradicating the practice globally by 2030 adding that in some countries progress would need to be 10 times faster than the best progress observed in history to reach the target by 2030.

The CEO of the Five Foundation Nimco Ali, who owns a UK-based charity that fights female genital mutilation mentioned that the UNICEF estimates were “shocking” and “devastating,” and more funding is urgently needed to end the practice.

The Somali-born activist Waris Dirie, an FGM author and a female genital mutilation survivor said “We must use the last six years of this decade to finally get to grips with this abhorrent abuse of a girl’s human rights and save the next generation from the horrors of FGM author and female genital mutilation survivor’’.

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