Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious violation of the human rights of women and girls, in particular the right to life and physical integrity, the right to health and the right to security and personal freedom, that continues to be widespread in many countries. Some 200 million women and girls around the world are affected, including at least 500,000 in the European Union. In addition, approximately four million girls worldwide are at risk of FGM each year.
Female genital mutilation, which violates human rights and is often life-threatening, must be ended. In Germany, FGM has been a criminal offence since 2013. Germany is also campaigning at European and international level for it to be made a criminal offence.
FGM cannot be overcome by criminal sanctions alone, however, as it is a deeply entrenched harmful practice in many societies. For this to happen, awareness must be raised among the population of the affected countries of the lifelong serious consequences of female genital mutilation. The Federal Government is strengthening prevention against all forms of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation, through a series of human rights projects and programmes in South, East and West Africa. Germany has pledged to support the Action Coalition on Gender-based Violence and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women with a total of 28.3 million euro in 2021/22. It is also promoting collective social change as part of its development cooperation, for example by working with religious and traditional authorities, teachers and other opinion leaders.