3 Million Girls Each Year at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation: UNFPA
Monday, March 29, 2010 4:45 PM

Three million girls worldwide are at risk of undergoing genital mutilation (FGM) every year, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said last month.

UNFPA estimates that 120 to 140 million women have already been subjected to FGM, mostly in 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The agency cites cultural and social factors as reasons why the practice still persists, despite a global commitment to end FGM by 2010.

Women and girls who undergo FGM face a multitude of short- and long-term physical and mental health problems, including severe pain, infection, infertility and death. The United Nations (UN) has declared the practice a severe violation of women's and girls' human rights.

The UN has designated 6 February as International Day against Female Genital Mutilation. Efforts to reduce the prevalence of FGM have succeeded in some countries. Senegal, for example, has seen a 65% decline in the prevalence of FGM.

Compiled from: UN agency says 3 million girls risk genital mutilation each year, Afrique en ligne (8 February 2010).