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Moves to medicalize female mutilation could destroy ‘Stop FGM’ advocacy

WNN SOAPBOX 17.4.2013

By Faiza Jama Mohamed

(WNN) Nairobi, KENYA: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a severe form of discrimination against girls.  It is an extremely violent act of control and an utterly invasive and destructive assault of the female sexual organs.  It promotes the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with girls, which needs to be changed.  It is often carried out for cultural or supposedly religious reasons, even though it is not referred to in any major religious text.  FGM is most prevalent in parts of Africa and the Middle East.  However, it is a global problem, which has already affected 100 – 140 million women and girls around the world.

One of the most worrying recent developments relating to FGM is the shift towards permitting it to be performed by medical professionals in a supposedly ‘safe’ environment.  We have recently been calling for urgent action in Indonesia, one of the first countries in the world to attempt to ‘legitimize’ FGM in this way.  As Indonesian girls are usually less than six weeks old when this is carried out, they have absolutely no say in this decision, which transforms their entire future.  We are also concerned about recent development in Malaysia, which could see something similar happening there.  The Malay Minister for Health is keen to formalize and legitimize the ‘medicalization’ of FGM, despite the fact that there is absolutely no benefit or necessity to do so.  This ignores both UN and WHO guidelines, which recognize it as a severe form of violence and child abuse against girls. Read more.