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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022: Theme, History and Significance

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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2022: The cruel process of Female genital mutilation (FMG) involves the cutting and removal of a woman’s clitoris and labia, followed by stitching up most of the vaginal opening. The process is usually performed on children, deceitfully and by force. International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an awareness event that seeks to end this abusive practice. The event takes place on February 6, every year. Below, we take a look at the theme for this year’s event, its history and its significance.

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THEME

The theme of this year’s observance of International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is Accelerating Investment to End Female Genital Mutilation. It was announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres this month. The UN plans to invest in programmes that help change societal norms that enforce such practices on more than four million girls every year.

HISTORY

FMG is practised in many African nations, Southern Kurdistan, Yemen, the Middle East, Indonesia, and Mumbai in India, among other places. Women practise it on the children in their family; to suppress their sexual pleasure and believe that it keeps the victims pure and chaste. They also believe that female genital mutilation helps maximise men’s pleasure during intercourse.

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Since the 1970s, there have been efforts to discourage practitioners of FMG by highlighting the harmful effects such as chronic urinary infections, menstrual problems, persistent pain, severe bleeding, development of cysts and childbirth complications, among others.

Togolese native Fauziya Kassindja’s narrow escape from becoming a victim of genital mutilation and subsequently receiving asylum in the United States highlighted the issue in the mid-1990s. The United Nations General Assembly, in 2012, established February 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

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SIGNIFICANCE

FMG violates a woman’s fundamental rights to bodily integrity and health. Though many nations have banned this practice, it continues in secret in certain parts of the world. The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation aims to create awareness about the practice to fully eliminate it by 2030, as per UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5.

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