- Over 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM.
- If current trends continue, about 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030.
- FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
- FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
- FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
The United Nations has designated 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and has called on concrete action to be taken against FGM.
FGM comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised 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 and girls. The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.
Although primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, FGM is a universal problem and is also practiced in some countries in Asia and Latin America. FGM continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
On 20 December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146
in which it
'Calls upon States, the United Nations system, civil society and all stakeholders to continue to observe 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and to use the day to enhance awareness- raising campaigns and to take concrete actions against female genital mutilations.'
Although the practice of FGM cannot be justified by medical reasons, in many countries it is executed more and more often by medical professionals, which constitutes ones of the greatest threats to the abandonment of the practice. A recent analysis of existing data shows that more than 18% of all girls and women who have been subjected to FGM have had the procedure performed by a health-care provider and in some countries this rate is as high as 74%.
Recognizing the importance of engaging health workers in the effort to end FGM, the 2015 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation will be marked under the theme 'Mobilization and Involvement of Health Personnel to Accelerate Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation'.
The upcoming 2014 Annual Report 'UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating change' underlines the work of several countries which have started to train and sensitize health workers to the issue of FGM, including Mauritania, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Somalia, Uganda, Egypt and Eritrea.