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Lancet. 2007 Mar 31; 369(9567):1069-1070.During the past 2 years, substantial progress has been made in changing attitudes towards female genital mutilation in countries such as Guinea, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and Senegal. But the practice remains widespread across Africa. Wairagala Wakabi reports. In Guinea, where 97% of all women undergo female genital mutilation, about 150 communities made a declaration to collectively abandon the practice at the beginning of this year. Attitudes towards the harmful procedure are also changing in other countries in Africa such as Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and Senegal. But despite this growing momentum against the practice, it is still prevalent in these countries and it remains widespread in at least 28 countries on the continent. Poor education and low levels of income among women in African countries, coupled with inadequate governmental support in efforts to eradicate the practice, mean it will take longer to stamp out. Human rights activists place much of the blame for slow progress at the door of governments. "The struggle to have communities in Africa abandon female genital mutilation is taking too long because it's only civil society who have taken it seriously. Governments are yet to take up the matter to the expected level", says Faiza Mohamed, Africa regional director of women rights group Equality Now, which works with 23 organisations in 16 African countries. (excerpt)
Tampa, Florida, Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project, 2001 Dec 28. 4 p.This is testimony from a twenty five year-old woman who has elected to stay anonymous. She is today living in Douala where to cam a living she is a prostitute. Two national surveys carried out in Cameroon between 1988 and 1999 have shown that many girls and women have undergone one form of female genital mutilation (FGM) or the other and a lot more are at the risk of the practice. The negative effects of FGM on the health of women and girls have contributed to maternal morbidity and mortality, and traumatic psychological and psychosexual effects. (excerpt)
African Journal of Reproductive Health. 2008 Apr; 12(1):7-11.Add to my documents.
Journal of Cultural Diversity. 2003 Spring; 10(1):30-34.Female circumcision (FC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is a procedure that involves partial or complete removal of external female genitalia. The definition given by the World's Health Organization (WHO) states that female circumcision "comprise all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons" (WHO, 1998, p.5). The United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and the WHO have jointly issued a statement that FC and FGM causes unacceptable harm and issued a call for the elimination of this practice worldwide. The WHO also contends that female circumcision is a "violation of internationally accepted rights" (WHO, p.1). Female circumcision is a widespread cultural practice and affects millions of young women. Issues related to female circumcision that are of special concern are health consequences, civil rights, cultural considerations, and legal and ethical aspects. The purpose of this paper is to address the incidence of FC and FGM, the historical background, the procedure, the medical complications and cultural considerations. Legal and ethical issues of FGM will also be discussed. (author's)
Population 2005. 2002 Mar-Apr; 4(1):1, 8-10.Significant legal and policy provisions and improved access to information have helped women and adolescents in many countries to become aware of their reproductive rights and make informed choices about childbearing. This has resulted in more people in the world using family planning today than ever before. Yet, millions of women still become pregnant before they expect to and have more children than they want, the United Nations says in a report. "Today’s adolescents have far more choices than their parents had. Access to basic education, especially for girls, offers new opportunities for work, careers, and higher education," according to the World Population Monitoring report prepared by the UN Population Division. Education also enables young people to obtain the necessary information to make "responsible and informed choices and decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health needs," says the report presented at the 35th session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development in New York in the first week of April. (excerpt)
Florence, Italy, UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2005.  p. (Innocenti Digest)This Innocenti Digest is intended to serve as a practical tool to bring about positive change for girls and women. It: analyses the most current data to illustrate the geographic distribution of FGM/C and outlines key trends; identifies the principal ways in which FGM/C violates a girl’s or woman’s human rights, including the serious physical, psychological and social implications of this harmful practice; examines the factors that contribute to perpetuating FGM/C; and outlines effective and complementary action at the community, national and international levels to support the abandonment of FGM/C. On the basis of analysis conducted, there is good reason to be optimistic that, with the appropriate support, FGM/C can be ended in many practicing communities within a single generation. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNICEF, 2005 Nov.  p.FGM/C is a fundamental violation of human rights. In the absence of any perceived medical necessity, it subjects girls and women to health risks and has life-threatening consequences. Among those rights violated are the right to the highest attainable standard of health and to bodily integrity. Furthermore, it could be argued that girls (under 18) cannot be said to give informed consent to such a potentially damaging practice as FGM/C. FGM/C is, further, an extreme example of discrimination based on sex. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women defines discrimination as "any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." Used as a way to control women's sexuality, FGM/C is a main manifestation of gender inequality and discrimination "related to the historical suppression and subjugation of women," denying girls and women the full enjoyment of their rights and liberties. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004 Nov. 132 p.It is estimated that 98 percent of Somali women and girls have undergone some form of genital mutilation. About 90 percent have been subjected to the most drastic form. Since the 1991 collapse of its central government, Somalia has lacked established institutions, infrastructure, human resources and a secure environment suitable for development programs. Despite a harsh and uncertain environment, a vibrant civil society has been born in Somalia. Hundreds of NGOs, including women and youth groups, are actively involved in assisting victims of war, displaced persons, ethnic minorities, orphans, returned refugees, drought-stricken nomads and rural communities. These civil society groups receive significant humanitarian and development assistance from U.N. agencies and 40 international NGOs operating in Somalia. The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) was established to coordinate and facilitate information sharing among donor agencies, mostly based in Nairobi, Kenya. FGM/FGC eradication programs andactivities are coordinated through the SACB FGM/FGC Task Force, which meets every month. This assessment is aimed at guiding the World Bank, UNFPA and their partners in current and future anti-FGM/FGC initiatives. Programmatic and policy issues which emerged during the assessment are reflected in the relevant sections of the report. (excerpt)
World Health. 1979 May; 8-13.Female circumcision is still performed in African countries, and to a lesser extent in southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The origins of the practice are unknown, but the custom is routinely performed as an integral part of social conformity and community identity. It is conceived as an essential element of the code of modesty. The age of the girl who is circumcised can be anywhere from 1 week to 10 years. The operation (clitoridectomy, mutilation of the labia minora and majora of the female genitalia) is often performed by nonskilled practitioners under adverse hygenic conditions. Serious complications, e.g., surgical shock, bleeding, infection, tetanus, and retention of urine, are common. In 1976 the World Health Organization's Director General issued a statement on the need to combat superstitions and practices such as female circumcision. In 1979 all the participants from countries of WHO's African and Eastern Mediterranean Regions unanimously resolved that the practice should be abolished. The public will need an intensified education program, including health education, and traditional healers will need demonstrations of the harmful effects of female circumcision, to overcome a deeply entrenched cultural practice.