UN Report Finds Disturbing FGM Trend in West African Country

A new report states that while there has been a decline of female genital mutilation (FGM) on women in the West African country of Burkina Faso, there has been an increase in the number of young girls under the age of seven who are undergoing FGM. According to Planned Parenthood International, 66 percent of women in Burkina Faso, which has a population of 13 million, undergo FGM, down from between 70 and 100 percent 20 years ago. According to asurvey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Committee Against the Practice of Circumcision (CNLPE) based in Burkina Faso, 70.2 percent of cases of FGM, also known as female circumcision, carried out in Burkina Faso were on young girls under the age of seven, reports IRIN News.

According to the permanent secretary of the CNLPE, “In order to avoid the law, the circumcisers have been smart enough to substitute adolescents with little girls” because it is harder for authorities to detect, reports IRIN News. The survey found that 43 percent of the girls circumcised were between the ages of five and 10.

Burkina Faso passed a law against the practice of FGM in 1996 after major pressure from women’s rights and human rights organizations. The practice of FGM involves the partial or full removal of the clitoris. Advocates of FGM claim the procedure is conducted to reduce the motivation for committing adultery and to eliminate the pleasure from sexual intercourse.

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IRIN News 5/19/04; Voice of America 4/29/04; Planned Parenthood

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