Physicians Call For Zero Tolerance To Female Genital Mutilation Across The World
Serious concern about the increasing tendency for female genital mutilation (FGM) to be carried out by medical personnel has been expressed by the World Medical Association.
In a statement to mark the international day of zero tolerance to FGM today, the WMA repeats its strong condemnation of this practice that it says constitutes a severe form of violence against women.
Dr. Jon Snaedal, President of the WMA, said a recent World Health Organisation report indicated that 'the rate of progress towards a significant decline in the practice is slow', although the practice was internationally recognised as a violation of human rights and many countries had put in place policies and legislations to ban it.
He added: 'Because of its serious detrimental impact on the physical and mental health of women and girls, female genital mutilation is a matter of deep concern to physicians. We are particularly worried to note the increasing practice of female genital mutilation by medical personnel. This is in contradiction with our code of ethics, as these practices violate the human rights of women and girls. The WMA is totally opposed to this "medicalization" of FGM '.
Dr. Snaedal called for all physicians and other health professionals to mobilise actively to stop these flagrant forms of violence against women.
In 1993, the WMA adopted a statement on female genital mutilation condemning such practices as a form of oppression of women. In 2005 it strengthened its opposition, urging national medical associations to develop educational programmes for physicians, which would:
Include adequate information on the acute dangers of Female Genital Mutilations for women and girls
Raise awareness on such practices as a violation of women's human rights that physicians or other health professionals should never practice under any circumstances
Encourage physicians to inform women, men and children about FGM and discourage them from performing or promoting such practices
The World Medical Association is the independent confederation of national medical associations from more than 80 countries and represents more than eight million physicians.
Acting on behalf of patients and physicians, the WMA endeavours to achieve the highest possible standards of medical care, ethics, education and health-related human rights for all people.
International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation
Message of Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director, UNFPA
06 February 2008
Today UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, calls for stronger commitment to end female genital mutilation. We call on governments to protect the rights of women and girls.
We call on leaders to take action to end female genital mutilation in line with the United Nations resolution adopted last year. In the resolution, governments reiterated that female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. They said the practice constitutes an irreparable, irreversible abuse. They cited mounting medical evidence that female genital mutilation poses a serious threat to the health of women and girls, increasing their vulnerability to HIV, raising the risk of maternal and infant mortality, and harming their psychological and sexual and reproductive health.
Despite these findings, an estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the practice and 3 million more girls are at risk each year. Many women and girls are traumatized by the experience and suffer in silence, afraid of being excluded from their communities.
In line with the resolution, UNFPA calls on governments to develop effective policies for the elimination of female genital mutilation. We urge all decision makers, at all levels, to play leadership roles in eliminating female genital mutilation. We call on national and community leaders to support the development of prevention and educational programmes, which take into account local beliefs and realities.
Intensified efforts are urgently needed to stop the practice in all its forms. Today, UNFPA pledges to increase support for efforts to end female genital mutilation. We call on governments and other partners to contribute to the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme and trust fund to end the harmful practice in one generation in 17 high-prevalence countries.
At UNFPA, we remain committed to women’s empowerment and gender equality and the right to sexual and reproductive health.
Source: Medical News Today, 6 Feb 2008