Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid Christoph Strässer issued the following statement today (6 February) on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation:
Female genital mutilation is and remains a serious human rights violation. According to UNICEF, 130 million girls and women are forced to live with the consequences of the procedure. Even if the downward trend continues, by 2050 a further 63 million girls will be mutilated. This goes to show that we must significantly ramp up our efforts. I am therefore extremely pleased that many countries have made this form of mutilation a punishable offence. Sadly, despite this, in practice the procedure continues to be performed, and I find it particularly shocking that qualified doctors carry it out. I condemn this in the strongest possible terms as mutilation, even under medical supervision, is still patently an act of violence.
No tradition or culture can justify this practice; abusing one’s daughter cannot be part of any culture. I therefore say to those who continue to do so: Stop it. And to the countries which continue to tolerate it: Ban it. On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation my particular recognition goes to all those who are working to change attitudes towards female genital mutilation. You fight tirelessly for the future of our society and I thank you for doing so.
The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that globally some 130 million women and girls suffer female genital mutilation, every year some three million young girls are subject to the practice. Female genital mutilation involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. In particularly severe cases the vagina is sewn shut, leaving only a small opening.
Female genital mutilation is practised in 28 countries in Africa but also in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and in some countries in Asia. Migration has since brought FGM to North America and Europe, too, including Germany. Female genital mutilation is a serious violation of human rights and an expression of discrimination and violence against women. The German Government is therefore working actively both in Germany and beyond to bring about the elimination of this practice.