The Indonesian Ministry of Health has established regulations on how to perform female genital mutilation (FGM). Medical professionals and human rights groups fear that these guidelines may be mistaken as government endorsement of FGM, which was banned in 2006.
Many are worried that doctors will misinterpret these guidelines as legitimization of FGM and will attempt to profit from increased FGM procedures. The regulations state that FGM should be administered by health care professionals only, not the traditional local healers, and that the genitals should be scraped, not cut. However, according to a 2009 survey of the country, when medical professionals did the procedure, there was significantly more cutting of the clitoris than when local healers performed the procedure.
Though FGM is outlawed, about 12 percent of female infants born in Indonesian hospitals have undergone genital mutilation. The Ministry of Health asserted that it was not endorsing the practice, but rather trying to decrease the many health risks associated with FGM. However, experts maintain this may not be a discernable difference for those who continue to practice FGM.
Compiled from: Indonesia: FGM/C Regulations Mistaken as Endorsement, Experts Fear, IRIN (1 September 2011).