AFRICA: Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti Lead in FGM Prevalence, Report Shows

FEBRUARY 5, 2016(CISA)–Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti have the highest prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) globally, a UN report has stated.

UNICEF report noted that in the 30 countries where the practice is most widespread, the majority of girls had undergone FGM before their fifth birthday despite the practice being declared the practice a violation of children’s rights.

“In countries like Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti, the practice is practically universal,” AFP quoted Claudia Cappa, the lead author of the report as saying. “Being born in those countries means you have 9 out of 10 possibilities of undergoing the practice,” she added.

According to the report released ahead of International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, on Saturday February 6, the prevalence rates for FGM stands at a staggering 98 percent for Somalia, 97 percent for Guinea and 93 percent for Djibouti.

The report also noted that at least 200 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to female genital mutilation with half of those living in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Of the 200 million FGM victims, 44 million are girls age 14 and younger.

The United Nations is working to end the practice of cutting women’s genitalia by the target date of 2030, a goal set in its new development agenda that was adopted in September by all UN member-states.

The new global figure on FGM includes nearly 70 million more girls and women than the last estimate for 2014, largely due to new data provided by Indonesia and population growth in some countries.

Overall, the prevalence of FGM among teenage girls has dropped in the 30 countries, from 51 percent in 1985 to 37 percent today.

There have been major strides in Liberia, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Egypt to end the mutilation of girls. Attitudes are changing, Cappa said, pointing to surveys showing that a majority of people in those countries want the practice to end.

“We need to support national efforts to promote the abandonment of the practice,” said Cappa, pointing to successes in efforts to “change the way communities see FGM and cutting.”

Since 2008, more than 15,000 communities have abandoned FGM including 2,000 last year alone.

Five countries have passed laws criminalizing the practice: Kenya, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau and recently Nigeria and Gambia in 2015.

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