For International Day of Zero Tolerance of FGM/C today, the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme for the Acceleration of the Abandonment of FGM/C released a new report, Key Results and Highlights 2011, which indicates that approximately 2,000 African communities have abandoned female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, stated, “These encouraging findings show that social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls and women. We call on the global community to join us in this critical effort. Together, we can end FGM/C in one generation and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives, and reach their potential.”

In 2011, the UNFPA reports that 18,000 community education sessions were held to discourage FGM/C. As a result, almost 2,000 communities renounced FGM/C practices that year alone in Burkina Faso, Dijbouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, and Somalia.

Internationally, an estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls have undergone an FGM procedure, with the practice widely being regarded as a human rights violation. The procedure, which involves the partial or total removal of external genitalia, is designed to decrease women’s sexual desire and is seen in many cultures as essential for a women’s suitability for marriage. The practice is also known to both increase the risk of HIV transmission and infant and maternal mortality rates.

UNFPA Statement 2/6/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/2/12

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