Mutilation (FGM) includes all procedures that involve the partial or total
removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified FGM into
four types, and they are all practiced in Nigeria.
Type I: partial or total
removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (Clitoridectomy). Subgroups of Type
I FGM are: type Ia, removal of the clitoral hood or prepuce only; type Ib,
removal of the clitoris with the prepuce.
Type II: partial or
total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of
the labia majora (excision). Subgroups of Type II FGM are: type IIa, removal of
the labia minora only; type IIb, partial or total removal of the clitoris and
labia minora; type IIc, partial or total removal of the clitoris, labia minora
and labia majora.
Type III: narrowing of
the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and
appositioning the labia minora and/or the labia majora, with or without
excision of the clitoris (infibulation). Subgroups of Type III FGM are: type
IIIa, removal and apposition of the labia minora; type IIIb, removal and
apposition of the labia majora. Reinfibulation is covered under this
definition. This is a procedure to recreate an infibulation, for example after
childbirth when defibulation is necessary.
Type IV: unclassified –
all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for nonmedical purposes,
for example, pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization. Type IV
also includes the practice of “massaging” or applying petroleum jelly, herbal
concoctions or hot water to the clitoris to desensitize it or pushing it back
into the body, which is common in many parts of Nigeria, especially Imo State.
has short terms and long-term effects on the health and well-being of girls and
women. Short term effects of FGM include: severe pain, excessive bleeding,
shock, genital tissue swelling, infections, while the long-term effects include
chronic genital infections, urinary tract infections, painful urination,
keloids, perinatal risks, etc.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human
rights of girls and women. FGM practice violates women and
girls’ rights to health, security and physical integrity, rights to be free
from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and rights to life
(when the procedure results in death)
FGM practice is strongly rooted in the
people’s culture and so, it has not been an easy task in getting people to
abandon the practice despite the harmful effects on girls and women.
It is estimated that about 200 million girls/women have
undergone FGM and about 3 million girls/women per year are at risk. Unless action to end FGM is accelerated,
another 68 million girls will have been cut by 2030 (Antonio Guterres – UN Sec.
In Nigeria, the Multiple Indicator
Cluster Survey (2016-17) revealed that 18.4% of women aged 15-49 years had
undergone FGM, a decrease from 27% (2011).
Conversely, the FGM prevalence among daughters (0-14 years) rose from
19.2% (2011) to 25.3% (2016-17).
Girls and women living with have experienced a harmful practice
and should be provided quality health care, while those at risk should be
protected from being subjected to this harmful procedure.
The “UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on
Elimination of FGM: Accelerating Change” is being implemented to end FGM in 16
countries including Nigeria. It commenced
in 2008, while Nigeria joined in 2014. Phase III began in Jan. 2018 and will
end by Dec. 2021. The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM is
playing a mammoth role in achieving Target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development
Goal, which calls for the elimination of all harmful practices by 2030, under
Goal 5 of the SDGs. In Nigeria, one of the strategies adopted by the
“UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Eliminating FGM: Accelerating Change” is Peer
today’s topic, “Promoting the right of women, a tool to ending FGM”, let us
define the term that we shall be using in this presentation.
Women’s rights are the fundamental human rights that
were enshrined by the United Nations for every human being on the planet.
These rights include the right to live, free
from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property, to
earn a fair and equal wage.
The women’s rights, freedom from discrimination,
freedom from violence, the right to health, the prohibition of torture and
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, rights related to marriage and family,
right to an effective remedy, and the right to information.
Right to health and physical integrity is to
strengthen its legislative measures regarding FGM and conduct awareness-raising
campaigns to combat and eradicate this and other traditional practices harmful
to the health, survival and development of children, especially girls.
Reference to FGM as a violation of women’s
physical integrity, and notes that “despite efforts to combat the practice of
female genital mutilation (excision), this practice, which violates the
rights and physical integrity of women, persists in certain regions in
Nigeria and laws criminalizing female genital mutilation and the law on sexual
and reproductive health have not been, effectively, enforced.”.
FGM has a violation of the rights of women and
children. In cases where the state fails to act with due diligence, the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment may also apply. The
Guidelines Development Group underscored the rejection of medicalization on the
basis of international consensus that FGM is a human rights violation that
should never be practiced.
The involvement of health-care providers in
performing FGM is likely to confer a sense of legitimacy on the practice and
could give the impression that the procedure is good for women’s health, or at
least that it is harmless. it is critical to ensure that the particular health
issues of women and girls who have undergone FGM, as well as ensuring that
quality sexual and reproductive health care and services are available,
accessible, acceptable and of high quality.
In order to ensure that all women and girls
can exercise and enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, and to
express their sexuality in conditions free from discrimination, coercion and
violence. Female genital
mutilation violates a series of well-established human rights principles, norms
standards, including the principles of
equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex,
the right to life when the procedure
results in death, and the right to freedom from torture or cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as the rights
The practice of FGM interferes
with healthy genital tissue in the absence of medical necessity and
can lead to severe consequences for a woman’s physical and mental health,
female genital mutilation is a violation of a person’s right to the
highest attainable standard of health.
There is a need to enforce the rights of women
and children because their vulnerability and need for care and support, as well
as the human rights law, grants them special protection. Therefore, promoting and protecting the rights
of women and girls will include the strategies below;
Providing sustainable emotional support for women and girls
affected by FGM to enhance prevention efforts and support survivors
Ensuring self-care for campaigners, staff and volunteers working
to end FGM, particularly in grassroots organization
Breaking down the stigma associated with FGM and associated
emotional or mental health issues
safe spaces where women can reflect on their experiences, and what this means
for their own daughters, creates an opportunity for breaking the inter-generational
cycle of FGM.
for the end of the practice, which is targets women
and girls and interferes with their enjoyment of their fundamental rights.
Promoting the right of women and girls to lead the efforts to
modify any custom that discriminates against them.
Promoting the right of women to abolish any traditional practice
that are harmful to children and women.
Promoting the right of women and girls to unrestricted access
to health care information and services
Promoting the right of women to ensure a social order in
which rights, and that of girls, can be realized.
embodying the principle of the equality of
men and women in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation,
if not yet incorporated therein and ensuring, through law and other appropriate
means, the practical realization of this principle.
Adopting appropriate legislative and other
measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination
Establishing legal protection of the rights
of women on an equal basis with men and to ensure through competent national
tribunals and other public institutions the effective protection of women
against any act of discrimination.
Refraining from engaging in any act or
practice of discrimination against women and to ensure that public authorities
and institutions shall act in conformity with this obligation;
taking all appropriate measures to
eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise;
Taking all appropriate measures, including
legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and
practices which constitute discrimination against women;
Repelling all national penal provisions which constitute discrimination
against women and girls.
Providing accurate and accessible information and education
about FGM as a practice that violates the rights of women and girls.
FGM prevention strategies into policies and programs that deal with
reproductive health, education, and literacy development.
is where we will end today’s segment of the conference on “Promoting the
right of women, a tool to ending Female Genital Mutilation”. We will gladly
standby to take your questions. Thank you for staying with us
learn more about the @endcuttinggirls Social Media Campaign, please visit
www.endcuttinggirls.org for information.
You may also follow our social media handles on Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram and YouTube, using @endcuttinggirls