Bill Shorten must be really, really on the nose - Labor's brought Julia Gillard back to do election ads
David Morrison's "personally directed" inquiry into child sex offence allegations got the desired result. A headline.

New UN Report - 200 million women worldwide have suffered genital mutilation - 50% of Indonesian girls under 11

This from the UN just released in New York.

New statistical report on female genital mutilation shows harmful practice is a global concern – UNICEF 

© UNICEF/UN09330/Mackenzie
Women chat Halajay Gawra, northern Iraq one of the villages UNICEF is working with to become “FGM-free”.

NEW YORK, 5 February 2016 – At least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries, according to a new statistical report published ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Global Concern notes that half of the girls and women who have been cut live in three countries - Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia - and refers to smaller studies and anecdotal accounts that provide evidence FGM is a global human rights issue affecting girls and women in every region of the world. 

Female genital mutilation refers to a number of procedures. Regardless of which form is practiced, FGM is a violation of children’s rights. 

"Female genital mutilation differs across regions and cultures, with some forms involving life-threatening health risks. In every case FGM violates the rights of girls and women. We must all accelerate efforts - governments, health professionals, community leaders, parents and families – to eliminate the practice," said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta. 

According to the data, girls 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, with the highest prevalence of FGM among this age in Gambia at 56 per cent, Mauritania 54 per cent and Indonesia where around half of girls aged 11 and younger have undergone the practice. Countries with the highest prevalence among girls and women aged 15 to 49 are Somalia 98 per cent, Guinea 97 per cent and Djibouti 93 per cent. 

In most of the countries the majority of girls were cut before reaching their fifth birthdays.

The global figure in the FGM statistical report includes nearly 70 million more girls and women than estimated in 2014.This is due to population growth in some countries and nationally representative data collected by the Government of Indonesia. As more data on the extent of FGM become available the estimate of the total number of girls and women who have undergone the practice increases. As of 2016 30 countries have nationally representative data on the practice.

“Determining the magnitude of female genital mutilation is essential to eliminating the practice. When governments collect and publish national statistics on FGM they are better placed to understand the extent of the issue and accelerate efforts to protect the rights of millions of girls and women,” said Rao Gupta.  

Momentum to address female genital mutilation is growing. FGM prevalence rates among girls aged 15 to 19 have declined, including by 41 percentage points in Liberia, 31 in Burkina Faso, 30 in Kenya and 27 in Egypt over the last 30 years. 
Since 2008, more than 15,000 communities and sub-districts in 20 countries have publicly declared that they are abandoning FGM, including more than 2,000 communities last year. Five countries have passed national legislation criminalizing the practice.
Data also indicate widespread disapproval of the practice as the majority of people in countries where FGM data exists think it should end. This includes nearly two-thirds of boys and men. 

But the overall rate of progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. If current trends continue the number of girls and women subjected to FMG will increase significantly over the next 15 years. 

UNICEF, with UNFPA, co-leads the largest global programme towards the elimination of FGM. It works at every level with governments, communities, religious leaders and a multitude of other partners to end the practice. 

With the inclusion of a target on eliminating FGM by 2030 in the new Sustainable Development Goals, the international community’s commitment to end FGM is stronger than ever.


This brochure is worth reading

The Indonesian statistic - 50% of girls 11 and under mutilated - is shocking.   So much for our funding for enlightened education and schools.

Changing the dialogue: Speaking out against female genital mutilation in Indonesia

3 February 2016
Author: UNFPA
Changing the dialogue: Speaking out against female genital mutilation in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia – “The day before I was discharged by the midwife, my daughter was circumcised. She is now three weeks old. When she becomes an adult, she will pray five times a day and read the Al Quran," says Rosa, a young woman living in Jakarta, before expressing a common misconception in the country. "According to religion, an uncircumcised girl is considered dirty.” 

In many regions of Indonesia, the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is centuries old and deeply seeded, and many, like Rosa, mistakenly believe the procedure is a dictate of their religion.

The sixth of February marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, and this February, Indonesia’s former First Lady Sinta Nuriyah Wahid’s, a devout Muslim, is leading a growing chorus in the country speaking out to counter this misconception and end the practice of FGM, which is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights.

“There really is no religious postulate for female circumcision, neither from the Al Quran nor from the Prophet’s sayings,” said Madame Wahid, as she explained to the attendees of a UNFPA seminar on FGM in Jakarta why none of her four daughters – or six granddaughters – have been subjected to the procedure. “Culture is the result of careful thoughts that start with the virtue of human dignity. A tradition that does not contribute to [this virtue] is not a tradition that should become part of the national culture.”

Starting a new conversation

FGM comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons, and it often results in severe bleeding and health issues, including cysts, infections and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth that increase risk of newborn deaths.

Former First Lady Sinta Nuriyah Wahid (far right) advocates for the elimination of FGM during a UNFPA conference in Jakarta. © UNFPA Indonesia

Nationally, 51 per cent of Indonesian girls under the age of 19 have been subjected to some form of FGM, according to the UNFPA’s Demographic Perspectives on Female Genital Mutilation. And in certain regions, over 80 per cent have, many while still in infancy.

Globally, it is estimated that between 100 million and 140 million girls have undergone FGM, and if current trends continue, 15 million additional girls will suffer it by 2030. The procedure is most concetrated in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, but is also common in several Asian countries, including India, Indonesia, Iraq and Pakistan, as well as among some indigenous groups in Latin America. 

Like many countries where FGM remains prevalent, Indonesia has officially banned the procedure – but successfully reducing and eliminating it will require a much larger and more coordinated effort.

Uniting to fight FGM

“Many countries have passed laws to criminalize FGM; however, legislation alone cannot solve the problem,” sayid Dr. Ahmed Ragaa Abdel-Hameed Ragab, a professor from the International Islamic Centre for Population Studies and Research at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. “FGM can only be abolished by a grass-roots approach that involves community education and takes into consideration all aspects of a particular culture and tries to work within that system of beliefs to eradicate this practice.”

In 2014, researchers at Jakarta’s YASI University conducted a study along with UNFPA to better understand FGM practices throughout the country and help develop a new, more comprehensive plan to eliminate the procedure. Then in September 2015, UNFPA convened the seminar in Jakarta, attended by Madame Wahid and nearly 100 others, entitled Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Discussions from Social-Cultural and Health Perspectives.

The event brought together health professionals and international experts to discuss the research findings and create a detailed action plan to change the cultural dialogue around FGM and implement policies that can effectively combat it.

Following the seminar, Indonesia’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection committed to leading the coordinated national response. And this Monday, 8 February, Indonesia’s Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, Dr. Yohana S. Yambise, will speak about the nation’s strengthened commitment to fighting the procedure at an International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM event at the United Nations in New York.

“FGM is a violent practice, scarring girls for life – endangering their health, depriving them of their rights and denying them the chance to reach their full potential,” said UNFPA’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. “To protect the well-being and dignity of every girl, we need to take responsibility as a global community for ending FGM. That means we need to learn more – and do more.”

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