An estimated two million girls worldwide undergo the brutal procedure known as female genital mutilation (FGM) every year, leading to physiological, sexual and psychological effects including hemorrhage, shock, infection, sexual dysfunction and increased risk of contracting HIV. It’s a tragic human rigpopact violation, whose cultural and traditional roots run deep—making it difficult to combat. PAI has a long history of working towards the elimination of FGM—from generating awareness and action in the 80’s to funding anti-FGM projects in Mali over the past five years—but more help is desperately needed. We urge governments and communities around the world to take steps to eradicate this harmful practice once and for all.
Global eradication efforts have achieved some success, and recent events in Indonesia and Ethiopia give hope that this practice can be eliminated. Early last month, Indonesia banned all doctors and nurses from performing FGM. According to the head of the Indonesian health ministry’s family health directorate, Sri Hermiyanti, “Hurting, damaging, incising and cutting of the clitoris are not permitted under the ban, because these acts violate the reproductive rigpopact of these girls and harm their organs.” While there are no punishments in place for people who violate the ban, this is an important first step towards ending this horrific practice.
On a recent trip to Ethiopia, PAI President Amy Coen and her colleagues had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bogaletch Gebre—affectionately called “Boge”—who is spearheading a national campaign to end FGM. They participated in a rally of over 15,000, including girls, mothers, fathers and village elders, demonstrating their commitment to ending FGM in their communities.
These are just two of the ways communities are starting to fight FGM. It takes a commitment from every level of a society to triumph over a traditional practice that has been performed for centuries in some communities. PAI salutes the advances of these two countries and urges country governments to support these and other similar efforts. An end to this human rigpopact abuse is within our reach.