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UN Calls for End to Female Genital Mutilation

The Center for Inquiry’s blog reports that the United Nations has, for the first time, adopted a resolution calling on all nations to end the disgusting practice of female genital mutilation. The committee report on the advancement of women can be read in its entirety here. Among other things, it says:

“Urges States to condemn all harmful practices that affect women and girls, in particular female genital mutilation, whether committed within or outside a medical institution, and to take all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit female genital mutilation and to protect women and girls from this form of violence, and to end impunity;

Also urges States to complement punitive measures with awareness raising and educational activities designed to promote a process of consensus towards the eradication of female genital mutilation, and further urges States to protect and support women and girls who have been subjected to female genital mutilation and those at risk, including by developing social and psychological support services and care, and to take measures to improve their health, including sexual and reproductive health, in order to assist women and girls who are subjected to the practice;”

CFI notes that an estimated 140 million women around the world have been the victims of this horrific practice.

Comments

  1. marcus says

    US FGM Law

    Title 18 – Crimes and Criminal Procedure
    Section 116 – Female genital mutilation

    Except as provided in subsection (b, health of mother or fetus exclusion), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

    A number of U.S. state laws prohibit FGM, as well.

    It’s a start.

  2. thalwen says

    Unfortunately the UN has no enforcement power and in the U.S. it is done mostly as an underground thing by certain communities. Until we have comprehensive work to empower women and fight cultural stereotypes which devalue women, this will continue to happen.

  3. says

    Unfortunately the UN has no enforcement power and in the U.S. it is done mostly as an underground thing by certain communities. Until we have comprehensive work to empower women and fight cultural stereotypes which devalue women, this will continue to happen.

    Making the practice illegal is an important step because it provides a bit of leverage and allows the state to get involved. It’s a step in the right direction.

  4. slc1 says

    Gee, 4 comments and no one has brought up male circumcision as yet. Maybe because of the brouhaha that occurred last year in Germany.

  5. Rip Steakface says

    Gee, 4 comments and no one has brought up male circumcision as yet. Maybe because of the brouhaha that occurred last year in Germany.

    Ahem.

  6. congenital cynic says

    Please, let’s not start the circumcision debate again. Once FGM is stamped out, then perhaps it’s time to return to that discussion. FGM and the terrible treatment of women around the world are on a whole different scale than the loss of a piece of foreskin, so let’s put in the effort to help women.

    @8 I had never heard of Breast Ironing. Never ceases to amaze me the crazy shit that people get up to. Humans are a strange lot. I marvel at the constant flow of “stupid” that gets posted on this site. Thank the FSM for alcohol.

  7. says

    So these cave-dwellers think that it’s necessary to remove part of the human body. What, did allah get something wrong? Why didn’t he just create women without those naughty bits if they’re so evil?
    Oh, crap, there I go again trying to deal logically with religious idiocy.

  8. lorn says

    Legal/political change can sometimes be like picking up a piece of paper off a very smooth floor; you don’t try to grab the middle, you work an exposed edge up until you have something to grab. Focus your efforts on the most outrageous and destructive practices and, in time, work your way toward the lesser ones.

    As destructive as breast ironing is it might be best to focus on FGM, and particularly the most extreme forms. In time, and such things often take decades, you might move on to breast ironing but in the mean time you are going to want to concentrate your efforts to maximize impact and avoid getting bogged down in lesser issues.

  9. laurentweppe says

    Ok, now all that remain to be done is for the US senate to vote against it signing the treaty because republicans wants to protect the populace from the UN’s devious plan to send its blue-helmeted stormtroopers into suburbia to teach innocent little american girls how to be uppity.

  10. jba55 says

    What I don’t understand is why this is something that even needs to be addressed by the UN, I would like to think that in order to be called “civilized” a country would have to condemn this type of atrocity. Of course what I would like to think and reality are often two different things. At least it’s starting to get attention, the sooner this foulness is stopped the better.

  11. matthewhodson says

    @#10 I think FGM is a cultural and traditional abuse that pre-dates Islam, mostly past on from mother to daughter. While there are Islamic patriarchies that support the abuse its not a right of passage for the religion, unlike say in Judaism.
    It is however pervasive and secretively all over the world girls are subjected to this mutilation. I hope this resolution helps us cut these chains of oppression and we can stop the cutting of bodies.

  12. steve oberski says

    #15 matthewhodson

    But Islam is complete and perfect and is not thereafter susceptible to addition or abrogation.

    So you would think that after 1400 years or so of lead time it might have figured out the FGM thing.

    It drones on and on about how perfect it is but it can’t even get simple things right like it’s wrong to cut bits off of other people.

    So it don’t think Islam gets the cultural get out of jail free card on the FGM thing.

  13. laurentweppe says

    So it don’t think Islam gets the cultural get out of jail free card on the FGM thing.

    While western culture gets one because unlike these brown skinned “uncivilized” people, in the 19th & 20th centuries, the western practitionners and advocates of FMG decided to take the precaution of pretending that they cared about women health, going so far as iinventing pseudo-scientific justifications, like “it’s a cure against nymphomania and histeria caused by the irritation of the clitoris! I’m a doctot, I know what I am talking about!“, then, once its became illegal and widely revieled, boldly choosed to pretend that this practice had never been an European & North American thing, no siree.

  14. thalwen says

    @15
    No one said that Islam is perfect or great for women. But just because Islam isn’t 100% perfect and peachy fun doesn’t change the fact that FGM is a cultural practise not related to Islam. Though maybe if we tie it to big bad Islam, we can get the fundies on board in fighting it.

  15. Doug Little says

    fifthdentist @10,

    So these cave-dwellers think that it’s necessary to remove part of the human body.

    Well it’s for their own protection you see, just the thought of ladies being able to enjoy consensual sexual activity means the’re askin’ for it.

  16. davidhart says

    Thalwen@18: “But just because Islam isn’t 100% perfect and peachy fun doesn’t change the fact that FGM is a cultural practise not related to Islam”

    Sorry, you don’t get to do that. Sure, FGM probably predates Islam, and isn’t unique to it, but it is far more strongly associated with Islam than with any other religion (or with non-religion). It has become related to Islam, by virtue of being adopted by so many Muslim societies.

    If most of the people practising FGM are Muslims, and they give explicitly religious reasons for doing it, then it is Islam’s problem, even if it doesn’t specifically appear in the Koran and Hadith. A religion is not just the contents of its holy books; it’s also what its adherents do in the name of their religion.

  17. steve oberski says

    @17 laurentweppe

    I have no illusions about the treatment of women by western civilization.

    And I have no illusions about women living under Muslim theocracies being thrown under the bus by western cultural relativists.

    And why do you think that all Muslims are these brown skinned “uncivilized” people ?

  18. laurentweppe says

    Sure, FGM probably predates Islam

    It does not “probably”: Romans did that stuff centuries before Muhammad was a twinkle in his parents eyes. If anything it most probably predates monotheism

    The way FMG became a practice endorsed by some (thought by no means all) muslim cleric is an all too classical tale: preachers arrive in a place where this practice already exists, and they courageously decides to not challenge it because it makes converting people easier. Generation passes, and when eventually people start to challenge the practice, traditionalists courageously hide behind religion, turning what was originaly a cowardly & expedient feint by clerics and preachers into a religious obligation.

    But even then, religion is far from being the main motivation behind FMG: in fact, in most countries where opinion was sampled, only a minority of FMG suporters invoke religion as a reason.
    So, no, for the most part, people who favor FMG do not “give explicitly religious reasons for doing it

    ***

    it is far more strongly associated with Islam than with any other religion (or with non-religion)

    Of course: since Christians love to pretend than none of them ever supported FMG (a big lie) and most western people, religious or not love to pretend that no “rationalist” doctor produced by the western world would support such practice (another fucking lie). When you point fingers to one group while the members of the other tribes hide their skeletons in their closets, then this one group singled out becomes “more strongly associated” with FMG.

    ***

    And why do you think that all Muslims are these brown skinned “uncivilized” people ?

    Where did I write that I, myself, believed it? I know by experience that Islam is very often used as a proxy for race, that is, that when the nostalgics of the “good old times” when one could treat people whose ancestors where born on the wrong side of the Mediterranean Sea like serfs and get away with it want to justify they desire to come back to those “good old days”, they often lump the dark-skinned people they want to harm in a same bag labelled “Muslims” and then start shouting “Islam is Eviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil” while pretending to be paragons of progressivism. So that makes me very touchy and suspicious when I see someone dabling in cultural determinism.

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