Global efforts to end female genital mutilation undermined by ‘holiday discounts’ – Global Issues


Although many states have intensified their eradication efforts, the practice persists around the world, partly due to “the clandestine nature of cross-border and transnational FGM,” the report said.

“Female circumcision is is part of a continuum of gender-based violence and has no place in a universe that respects human rights,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk.

“It must be eliminated in all its forms, and the gender stereotypes and patriarchal norms that entrench and perpetuate it must be uprooted.”

Millions at risk

According to the report, an estimated 4.3 million girls were at risk of being subjected to FGM in 2023. reportthat was based on in-depth desk research and submissions from states and civil society organizations around the world.

More than 600,000 women in the European Union are believed to suffer from FGM, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).WHO) defines as “all procedures involving the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia, or other injuries to the female genitalia for non-medical reasons”.

It is mainly performed on young girls between childhood and the age of 15 years.

The practice has no health benefits for girls and women and causes severe bleeding and difficulty urinatingand later cysts, infections, as well as complications during childbirth and an increased risk of newborn deaths,” the WHO added.

‘Holiday cutting’ during school holidays

The report states that so-called ‘holiday discounting’ occurs when families, especially in Europe and North America, take their daughters to their countries and communities of origin to undergo FGM during the school holidays.

In certain cases, girls are reportedly transferred to serving countries “transnational FGM hubs”. In some cases, it is the ‘cutters’ who cross borders to carry out the harmful procedure.

The report identified cross-border and transnational FGM movements around the world. It states that girls and young women living in border communities are particularly vulnerable, as border areas are often home to communities with cultural and ethnic ties that transcend national borders.

Address the root causes

“States around the world have made human rights commitments to eradicate FGM and promote gender equality,” said Mr Türk.

“They must ensure a joint global approach that addresses the root causes and consequences of FGM, including by harmonizing their legal and policy frameworks and ensuring their implementation, if they truly want to deliver on their commitments to end this harmful practice everywhere . ”

The report called for greater regional and international cooperation towards eradication.

Proposed measures include allocating adequate resources to design and implement regional policy frameworks and cooperation agreements to tackle the transboundary scourge and to support survivors.

States are also urged to ensure that effective prevention measures are in place – designed in consultation with survivors and relevant civil society organizations in collaboration with affected communities, religious and traditional leaders.

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