February 6: World Day Against Female Genital Mutilation and excision
February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly designated February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to intensify global action to eliminate the practice.
Female genital mutilation is a fundamental violation of human rights, given its impact on the physical and mental health of girls and women. Often performed by unconventional traditional practitioners such as excisers and birth attendants, the action is done with scissors, razor blades or knives without anesthesia. The procedure remains traumatic and can lead to complications such as pain, shock, and even death.
Genital mutilation, an extreme form of violence against women.
UNICEF recalls that more than 125 million women and girls have undergone FGM/E in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East and that 30 million girls are still at risk of being subjected to this practice over the next 10 years.
This practice, which constitutes a violation of the rights of the girl child and an attack on the physical and psychological integrity of women, is of concern to the women's movement, which is spearheading the fight against violence against women, as well as to certain agencies of the United Nations system, which have made the rights of the child, the girl child and the woman their strategic priority objectives.
According to WHO estimates, between 130 and 140 million women have undergone some form of genital mutilation. Côte d'Ivoire is one of the African countries most affected by the practice of FGC and it is estimated that 36% of women in the country have been excised. To say that the practice persists is therefore an understatement.
3 Million Girls Mutilated Each Year
Two million more cases of female genital mutilation could occur over the next decade due to the closure of schools and the disruption of programs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which help protect girls from these harmful practices.
Togo has a very repressive legal arsenal to punish the perpetrators and those who encourage this practice. Perpetrators who are found to have committed intentional violence in accordance with the law of 17 December 1998 prohibiting female genital mutilation in Togo are punished by a fine between 100 and 1,000,000 CFA francs, and risk up to 10 years' imprisonment. For the government, it is imperative to put an end to this practice which constitutes violence and an attack on the physical and biological integrity of Togolese women. Especially since this practice poses a problem for the health and rights of victims.
As UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem said: "We know what works. We do not tolerate excuses. We are tired of the violence perpetrated against women and girls. It is time to UNITE around proven strategies, FUND them accordingly and ACT.