Amnesty International Hails U.N. Resolution Against Female Genital Mutilation

Press Release
December 20, 2012

Amnesty International Hails U.N. Resolution Against Female Genital Mutilation

Urges Governments to Adopt Recommendations to Prevent "Grotesque" Practice

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, strimel@aiusa.org, 212-633-4150, @strimel

(New York) – Amnesty International today hailed adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution against female genital mutilation.

"This an important moment for everyone engaged in the fight against FGM - and most particularly for all the girls and women who have been affected by this grotesque practice," said José Luis Díaz, Amnesty International’s U.N. representative.

"The UN resolution places FGM in a human rights framework and calls for a holistic approach, stressing the importance of empowerment of women, promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence."

Today's result was a first for the UNGA. Every year, FGM affects up to 3 million girls in nearly 30 countries.

The resolution is a major boost to civil society organizations fighting for an end to the abusive practice, Amnesty International said.

The practice – the cutting of a girl’s genitalia, often without anesthetics in conditions that risk potentially fatal infection – is commonplace in 28 countries in Africa, as well as in Yemen, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia and within certain ethnic groups in South America.

However, FGM is an issue of worldwide concern to which women and girls in diaspora communities are also at risk of being subjected.

"That a girl or young woman can be held down and mutilated is a violation of her human rights," said Díaz. "Shockingly, an estimated three million girls are at risk each year."

The resolution makes concrete recommendations for prevention of FGM, for protecting girls at risk, ending impunity and provision of support services to those suffering from the lifelong consequences. Amnesty International urges governments to implement these recommendations urgently.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.