Female genital cutting (FGC) is the partial or total removal of a girl’s external genitals. Her body is physically damaged when the healthy tissue of her genitals are cut away. There are no health benefits to FGC. Complex cultural and social reasons are often given about why it is practised.
FGC has harmful effects on the health and wellbeing of a woman throughout her life and contravenes human, women’s and child rights.
The UN estimates that worldwide 125 million women and girls are currently living with the consequences of FGC. A further 30 million girls are at risk of being cut in the next decade across 29 known practising countries in Africa and the Middle East. However, this figure under-estimates the real number of girls affected, because other countries (e.g. Indonesia) are not included.
“FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. The practice violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.” –World Health Organization