Up to 30 million girls at risk of female genital mutilation

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Navi Pillay. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

As many as 30 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation over the next decade, the UN High Commissioner for Human rights warned on Monday.

Speaking in the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Navi Pillay described female genital mutilation as a "harmful and degrading practice" which is "not based on any valid premise".

Ms Pillay said that female genital mutilation, which has no health benefits, is a way of exercising control over women and it perpetuates what she called "harmful gender roles."

She pointed out that the practice is widespread in several regions of the world.

"According to UNICEF, in the 29 countries with the highest prevalence rate – so not even counting the others – more than 125 million girls and women have been subjected to FGM. And as many as 30 million girls are at risk of undergoing this practice over the next decade, if current trends persist. FGM is a form of gender-based discrimination and violence. It is a violation of the right to physical and mental integrity." (24")

Ms Pillay said that concerted efforts are needed to urgently address female genital mutilation.

Sophie Outwaite, United Nations.

Duration: 1’13″

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