Zero tolerance to FGM

Published by Maja Ahac

Zero tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

At ADRA we stand up for the well-being of all girls and women and for their right to live a life free of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments;

Every 11 seconds, a girl is being mutilated through the so-called ritual of female genital cutting. By the time you will finish reading this article, 18 girls will be cut.

Girls are deeply traumatized. The horrors they went through have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives. Inflammations in the genital area, incontinence, fistula problems, the resulting societal isolation, an unbearable feeling of shame, and even death are most often the consequences.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and 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 and girls. The practise 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.

8,000 little girls share the fate of female cutting every day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are some 150 million mutilated women and girls worldwide. FGM does not only occur in the countries of Africa but also here in Europe.

Although primarily concentrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, FGM is a universal problem and is also practised 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.

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) estimates that over 600,000 women are living with the consequences of FGM in Europe and that a further 180,000 girls and women are at risk of undergoing the harmful practice in 13 European countries. Even in Germany, alone, live about 50,000 victims of female genital mutilation! Moreover, UNHCR estimates that every year for the past five years at least 20,000 women and girls, as asylum seekers coming to Europe, might be affected by FGM.

On December 20, 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution 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.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its institutions, including ADRA, support the resolution of the UN on FGM Zero Tolerance and promote the day to enhance awareness to take concrete actions against FGM.