Nigeria has been recognized by United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) as one of the countries that have banned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Gambia is another West African country so recognized.
UNFPA stressed the urgent need to abandon the practice of FGM in a report on 2017 International Day for Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
UNFPA regretted that this practice is a “deeply entrenched social and cultural norm in many societies.”
Many countries, including Nigeria in 2015, have, with the support of UNFPA and other UN agencies, passed legislations banning FGM, UNFPA said.
As disclosed in the report, “Girls aged 14 and younger women represent about 44 million of those who have undergone female genital mutilation.
“Around the world, 200 million women and girls alive in the world today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation.”
UNFPA frowned at the practice, pointing out that it is “a deeply entrenched culture with devastating medical, social and economic repercussions for young girls and women.”
FGM, UNFPA insisted, is a violation of the human rights of women and girls, “a form of gender-based violence that must end now.”
The practice could cause short- and long-term health implications, including chronic pain, infection, increased risk of HIV transmission, anxiety, depression, birth complications, infertility and death, UNFPA said.
It warned that FGM is internationally recognized as an extreme violation of the rights of women and girls.
“Female genital mutilation violates human rights principles and standards, including the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex,” UNFPA emphasized.
Also, FGM violates the rights to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right of the child, and the right to physical and mental integrity, and even the right to life.
UNFPA sought the engagement of communities to promote the abandonment of the practice.
It said its programme is focusing on 17 African countries and that it supports both regional and global initiatives to eradicate FGM.