The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is being globally observed today.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM and 3 million girls are at risk each year. It is most prevalent in the underdeveloped African countries such as Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti, where the rate is over 95 percent.
Various activities and events are held on February 6 each year to promote the UN’s campaign to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
FGM, mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, relates to all procedures that involve partial or total alteration of female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
This practice is a violation of human rights of girls and women, and causes serious health problems that include fatal bleeding, cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
Therefore, this year’s the theme is “Building a solid and interactive bridge between Africa and the world to accelerate ending FGM by 2030.”
Currently, the largest global programme focusing on 17 African countries is being carried out by UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, who also support regional and global initiatives.
Accelerating the abandonment of FGM is also constitutional to The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that calls for an end to FGM by 2030. Gender Equality, Target 5.3 of SGDs state: “Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.”
In addition to the observance, many organizations worldwide fight against FGM through a range of activities. Notable are the three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, the African Union, the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation who hold public conferences, forums (that often feature survivors), photo essays and round-table discussions on making policies and laws to end the epidemic.
Share-net Bangladesh fully supports the cause, and aims to help eradicate FGM through engaging communities, societal dialogues and systematic efforts.
The day was officially commemorated in 2003, and continues its global observance to fight against the FGM malpractice. This falls under addressing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls and is crucial to positive development.