Clear and Precise Definition of FGM
last updated January 2015

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women's Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at 


Legislation should state that FGM is an act of physical violence against the bodily integrity of a person.  Legislation should clearly articulate the types of FGM including:
  • Type I:  Partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce (clitoridectomy).
  • Type II: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (excision).
  • 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 and re-infibulation).
  • Type IV: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example:  pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, cauterization and inserting harmful substances into the vagina.
(See: Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: An Interagency Statement, by OCHCR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, published by WHO, 2008)