An international conference met to review progress made in the fight to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. The conference, organized by the Kenyan government and a group of non-governmental organizations, also called for efforts to ban the practice. Over 400 people, from doctors to former circumcisers, attended the conference, representing approximately forty countries. According to Agence France Presse, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki asserted that African governments “must continue our efforts to stop those who would continue the practice in the face of prohibitive legislations.”
Waris Dire, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) goodwill ambassador, stated that “in all cases, FGM victims are scarred for life. This amounts to an extremely serious human rights and medical violation. That is why stiffer sentences should be imposed to serve as a deterrent,” reports Xinhua Genderal News Service.
Part or all of a girl’s or woman’s genitalia are removed during FGM, which is usually performed as a rite of passage, reports Voice of America. The United Nations reports that two million girls are mutilated every year in Africa.