Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.
It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors.
The practice 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.
Though the practice has persisted for over a thousand years, programmatic evidence suggests that FGM/C can end in one generation. While UNICEF currently works in 22 countries on the elimination of FGM/C, since 2008 UNFPA and UNICEF have collaborated on the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Accelerating Change in 15 of those countries in West, East and North Africa.
On 20 December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/67/146 in which it
“Calls upon States, the United Nations system, civil society and all stakeholders to continue to observe 6 February as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation and to use the day to enhance awareness- raising campaigns and to take concrete actions against female genital mutilations”.