In his message, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the occasion of International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) said, "I hold high the banner of empowering women and girls, promoting their health and defending their rights. The International Day of Zero-Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an opportunity to confront this persistent problem and to find hope in initiatives proving that it can end."
"There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman. Although some would argue that this is a tradition, we must recall that slavery, socalled honour killings and other inhumane practices have been defended with the same weak argument. Just because a harmful practice has long existed does not justify its continuation. All traditions that demean, dehumanize and injure are human rights violations that must be actively opposed until they are ended," added Ban.
An estimated 125 million girls and women alive today in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East who were subjected to the cruelty of FGM, informs WHO. According to WHO, if current trends continue, some 86 million young girls worldwide are likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030. WHO deems FGM a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
Some importants facts enumerated by WHO on FGM are as follows. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15. It causes severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth increased risk of newborn deaths.
It was on February 6, 2003, Stella Obasanjo, the First Lady of Nigeria and spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, made the official declaration on "Zero Tolerance to FGM" and this date was adopted as an international awareness day against FGM by the UN.
The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, on 6 February each year, is a time to make the world aware of female genital mutilation (FGM). The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme helps to mobilize local communities to combat FGM through a community-based approach to awareness-raising and peer education. UNV supports the work of its partners who are committed to eliminating FGM and protecting the rights of girls and women.
According to the UN. the practice of FGM also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.