UN News - PHOTO FEATURE: International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation


un.org - Fatima, 7, sits on a bed in her home in Afar region, Ethiopia. She was subjected to FGM/C when she was 1 year old. Photo: UNICEF/ Holt 6 February 2017 – While the exact number is unknown, at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East and Asia have been subjected to female genital mutilation, or FGM, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls FGM a procedure that intentionally alters or causes injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons. In lay terms, babies, girls and women are cut and their genitalia severed. WHO underscores that it not only provides no health benefits, but may lead to a life-time of obstacles. Furthermore, the majority of females who have been subjected to the practice are between infancy and age 15.

A young woman in an Ouagadougou clinic in Burkina Faso has undergone reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by female genital mutilation at age 6. Photo: UNICEF/ Nesbitt