The sixth of February is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a day to raise awareness of the practice and work towards its elimination. UNFPA will observe the day on 8 February, when a special high level event will be held at the United Nations in New York.
The elimination of FGM is a key target under Goal 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and this year’s day is being held under the theme “Mobilizing to Achieve the Global Goals through the Elimination of FGM by 2030.” The New York event featured UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNICEF Associate Director Child Protection Cornelius Williams, Kenyan FGM activist Keziah Bianca Oseko, Indonesia’s Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, Dr. Yohana S. Yambise, and Patricia Tobon Yagarí, an Embera indigenous lawyer from Colombia. It will also feature a performance by musician and FGM advocate Inna Moja and a series of monologues performed The Arts Effect.
"When I was a teenager and on my path to becoming woman, it was for me a very tough time. I had physical pain and also psychological pain," said Mali's Inna Moja during the event. "I felt that I would never become a woman, because I had something missing, and I wasn’t worth it. Because cutting me was telling me that I am not good enough."
Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. Globally, it is estimated that between 100 million to 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, and, if current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between ages 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030.
FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and the procedure can result in severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth that increase risk of newborn deaths.
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