Law prohibits all forms of FGC
National policies or legislation exist making it illegal to practice any form of female genital cutting (FGC).
Evidence of law prohibiting FGC
Legal statutes, policies, resolutions
Putting an end to FGC requires interventions at the individual, community, national and international level. In coordination with community discussions on the benefits of abandoning FGC, parliamentarians must be engaged to legislate banning the practice to bolster support for those who have abandoned the practice or wish to do so, act as a deterrent, and to publicly acknowledge the government’s disapproval of the practice. Developing a holistic child protection framework that secures health care and social and psychological support for girls and women who have already undergone FGC, supports welfare and social services, and involves police and the judicial system all require the backing of government support condemning FGC.
In addition to developing appropriate legislation prohibiting FGC, governments need to ratify the relevant international conventions. International law binds governments not only to enact laws that prohibit these practices, but also to work to change the beliefs and values that perpetuate them. Several international conventions reflect the commitments of states to end harmful traditional practices, including FGC. Some of these include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (UNICEF,
Innocenti Research Centre, 2008).
This indicator measures the existence of a law prohibiting FGC, but not the enforcement of the law. Legal measures are important, but imposing sanctions alone runs the risk of driving the practice underground and having a very limited impact on behavior. The law should be linked to the broader process of social change and accompanied by information and other measures that promote increased public support for ending the practice. The amendment, adoption and enforcement of laws should be done in consultation with community and religious leaders and other civil society representatives. Mechanisms should be established to review and assess the enforcement of the laws regularly (WHO et al, 2008).
policy, women’s status, female genital cutting (FGC), violence
FGC has been recognized as discrimination based on sex because it is rooted in gender inequalities and power imbalances between men and women and inhibits women’s full and equal enjoyment of their human rights. It is a form of violence against girls and women, with physical and psychological consequences. International conventions and protocols explicitly recognize that practices harmful to women and girls, such as FGC, violate their human rights to life, liberty, and security of the person (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2008). When countries sign on to these conventions or enact their own laws criminalizing FGC, it is an acknowledgment that FGC is a form of gender-based violence that must be abandoned.
UNAIDS, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO, 2008. Eliminating female genital mutilation: an interagency statement.
UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre, 2008. Platform for Action Towards the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). The Donors Working Group on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
Center for Reproductive Rights, 2008. Female Genital Mutilation: Legal Prohibitions Worldwide. http://reproductiverights.org/en/document/female-genital-mutilation-fgm-legal-prohibitions-worldwide
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence