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Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors.

The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Key facts about FGM

  • An estimated 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
  • If current trends continue, some 86 million young girls worldwide are likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030.
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM cause severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth including increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General has said 'There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman'. The United Nations have created an international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation - 6 February.  Source: End Female Genital Mutilation

Legislative response in NSW

The Crimes Amendment (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill 2014 introduced by the Attorney-General Greg Smith in March 2014 to amend the Crimes Act to increase the maximum penalty for performing female genital mutilation from seven years to 21 years imprisonment and to create a new offence of removing a person from New South Wales with the intention of having female genital mutilation performed on that person.

Non-legal responses

Media responses

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