Female Genital Mutilation: Violation of Human Rights


Elahe Amani
by Elahe Amani

On December 30th, the Washington Post, highlighted a photo essay covering an end to end ceremony of what the Post titled “Female Circumcision in Kurdistan". The 15 pictures depict the horrible experience of a seven-year-old girl who is taken by her mother to be circumcised in Kurdish Iraq, where more than 60 percent of women have undergone the traditional and controversial procedure. The practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the many forms of violence against women and a violation of women's human rights. It is deep rooted in gender inequality which is the cause and consequences of violence against women.

Although FGM is being practiced in many Muslim majority societies, but it is a pre-Islamic tradition which aims at controlling women's sexuality. In small villages, this surgical procedure is being done at home and not in a medical facility. The complication and even infection often endanger the health and well-being of these young girls. Although the tradition is mainly prevalent in African countries but it also being practice in several countries in Asian continent. After UN conference in Beijing, the practice was banned in several countries but still is widespread as young women who have undergone the surgery are more desirable for marriage.


The publication of these horrible photos and the decision of post photo editor was objected and challanged which you may read about it here .

World Health Organization has published the following fact sheet in May 2008 about FGM:

"Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

  • An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.
  • In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths.
  • It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
  • FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

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.

The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by medically trained personnel. FGM is recognized 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 and is a violation of the rights of children. 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.

For more reading on this issue please click here. May we live in a world with respect to human rights and human dignity.


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Female circumcision!

by iranian 2 ever (not verified) on

I rather use this term than the term that is used in this blog.I know for male it is done for medical reasons,but for females I have not heard of a medical reason.One things that I have heard is than removal of the minor labia which is outer layer of vagina reduces a female sexual pleasure.This is done to prevent them from messing around.Whatever the reason for this practice it is very primitive and backward.I heard this was done in a part of Africa,but I did not know it was done in Iraq's Kurdistan too,but in Kurdistan at least they use anesthetic.In Africa it is done without use of anesthetic.Ouch


female genital mutilation

by Constitutionalist503 (not verified) on

And you must be against the mutilation of male genitalia in our own society, right?

It has been proven that circumcision is not necessary at all. Most people believe it has something to do with heigene, but in actuality it is a cruel ancient religious ritual designed to make sheep out of men. It not only effects sexual function negatively, but also urinary troubles and maybe linked to prostate problems later down the road. Not to mention the psychological trauma.

One should fully examine one's own culture, before bestowing judgment on others. Having said that, I think both practices are brutal and stone-aged. Maybe I'll start a US campaign to end all unnecessary circumcisions.


THis is very forign to

by AtheistKurd (not verified) on

THis is very forign to Kurds. The uninformed Kurds have picked it up recently from Arabs and other Muslim countries....

You never of such things in Sanandaj,Urmia,Kermanshah,Mahabad,Diyarbakir, Binglo, Howler or any other Kurdish city..


FGM: a heinous crime

by javaneh29 on

Its trully sad and shocking that this practice still continues any where in the world.. but I know it is still common practice in many countries. Even in the UK, this barbaric mutilation of young girls is still practiced illegally amongst some ethnic groups inspite of legislation,

The face of that young girl made me cry. I cant imagine any woman putting a child through that. It sometimes amazes me what humans are capable of doing to each other. I don't think it comes down to education or rather a lack of it.... if you have been through somethng like this yourself why would you want to put another child through it. The problem here is that the value of the female gender is still less than the male.

Like footbinding, suti in India (the widow is burnt alive on the funeral pyre of her husband) stoning, breast flattening and many more horrific procedures these crimes against women are ignored by the rest of the world. 

The practice of labotomy or ice pick surgery, that is removal of a part of the brain was regularly performed as a means to control women and children in the western world until the mid 20th century.

Its saddening



Dear Ms Amini

by IRANdokht on

Thank you for bringing this subject up. For the longest time, I was under the impression that this type of mutilations do not happen in Iran. It wasn't until I saw the documentary on link tv that I found out!

The most heartbreaking part of this act is that the young girls mothers and aunts are usually the ones holding them down while they're being assaulted.  You'd think any woman who's suffered this painful humiliation and has been victimized by such barbaric tradition would know better...  Unfortunately like many other senseless traditions and superstitions, the practice will continue as long as the people are kept in the dark and are ignorant and uneducated.  

Thanks again



seems like a good idea!

by MRX1 (not verified) on

Seems like a great practice for Islamic regime in Iran. I believe they should adopt this custom.it wil serve them well. IT will be another nice addition to their list of accomplishments which includes chopping limbs, stoning people to death, hanging teen agers,etc...