Female Genital Mutilation: A global concern

February 3, 2016

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights issue that affects girls and women worldwide. As such, its elimination is a global concern. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a milestone resolution calling on the international community to intensify efforts to end the practice. More recently, in September 2015, the global community agreed to a new set of development goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which includes a target under Goal 5 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and FGM, by the year 2030. Both the resolution and the SDG framework signify the political will of the international community and national partners to work together to accelerate action towards a total, and final, end to the practice in all continents of the world. More and better data are needed to measure progress towards this common goal.

This brochure draws on data from more than 90 nationally representative surveys making it the most up-to-date compilation of statistics on FGM. Available data show that the practice of FGM is highly concentrated in a swath of countries from the Atlantic coast to the Horn of Africa, in areas of the Middle East such as Iraq and Yemen and in some countries in Asia like Indonesia. However, FGM is a human rights issue that affects girls and women worldwide. Evidence suggests that FGM exists in some places in South America such as Colombia and elsewhere in the world including in India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.