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UN: 30 million girls in danger of genital cutting

23 July 2013, 18:12

Nairobi - As many as 30 million girls around the globe still face the risk of genital mutilation in the next decade, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in a report on Monday.

A total of 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation, according to the report, which surveyed 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The practices, which involve cutting away part or all of a girl 's external genitalia, have been recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Support for the practices, which cause severe pains and bring no short- or long-term health benefits, has been in decline, the report noted. It also finds that a large number of boys and men are also against the practices in some countries where genital mutilation persists.

However, lack of open discussion of the sensitive issue has left millions of girls at the risk of being cut in future.

"What is clear from this report is that legislation alone is not enough," UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta said, adding "The challenge now is to let girls and women, boys and men speak out loudly and clearly and announce they want this harmful practice abandoned."

According to the report, such practices remain almost universal in Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti, and Egypt, with over 90 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 being cut. In countries such as Chad, Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Sudan, or Yemen, there has been no noticeable decline.

Meanwhile, the practices have declined in Kenya, Tanzania, Benin, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, the report added.

- Xinhua

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