Practiced in Africa as well as in certain countries in the Middle East and communities in Asia and Latin America, female genital mutilation is the internationally-acknowledged name for the practice of cutting women’s genitalia. Girls are subjected to FGM for a variety of reasons, explained Christine Loudes, director of the EndFGM campaign at Amnesty International.
“FGM is performed for non-therapeutic reasons,” Loudes said. “It’s done in the name of tradition, in the name of aesthetics and sometimes in the name of religion.”
FGM involves partially or completely removing the external female genitalia, and the practice is usually performed under unhygienic conditions and without anaesthesia on girls from their birth to 15 years of age. FGM represents a severe violation of human rights.
“It constitutes torture and degrading treatment; it violates women’s rights, and it violates rights to physical integrity as well as to children’s rights, to name a few,” Loudes added.
Africa is the most notable perpetrator regarding FGM, with some 30 countries subjecting girls to the practice. But girls are threatened by the practice on other continents as well. According to the European Parliament, roughly 500,000 girls and women in Europe have already been subjected to FGM or are in danger of becoming victims. That number includes 75,000 girls and women in the UK, 65,000 in France and 30,000 in Germany. As Loudes explains, it’s difficult to prove that FGM is actually being carried out on the ground in Europe, but Amnesty International does not want to rule out the possibility.
Me neither. In fact, there have been reports of “parties” to practise it in the UK.