Women's Rights Activists Condemn Female Genital Mutilation
Female circumcision is a brutal and debilitating ritual that governments and international organizations must eliminate, women's rights activists asserted at the UN headquarters on Thursday. Approximately 130 million women, the majority of whom live in Africa, survive the practice of genital cutting or female genital mutilation - with an estimated 2 million increase each year. The co-authors of Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies, Anika Rahman of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy and Nahid Toubia of Research, Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women, disputed the treatment of this issue as "cultural," articulating instead the emotional scarring, gruesome nature, and physical dangers of female genital mutilation. Legislation and education are crucial to its eradication, explains Rahman, but they must occur in "an overall framework to promote women's rights and their status." In New York earlier this month at the Beijing +5 Conference , 180 countries called for an end to harmful traditional practices including female circumcision.
Media Resources: Associated Press, Washington Post June 30, 2000