United Press International - February 6, 2012
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Raising awareness and
calling for the elimination of female genital mutilation were
focuses of International Day of Zero Tolerance Monday, organizers
The objective was of the observance is to draw international
attention to efforts needed to free women and girls from genital
mutilation, and to hasten elimination of the practice by 2015,
set by the U.N.-backed Millennium Development Goals, the
Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices, based in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, said in a release.
Female genital mutilation refers to any practice involving the
partial or total removal or alteration of the external female
genital organs for non-medical reasons. The committee said a
conservative estimate indicates about 2 million women and girls
are subjected to female genital mutilation worldwide.
Studies have shown a correlation between female genital
mutilation and the high infant and maternal mortality and
morbidity rates in African countries where the tradition is
practiced, the committee said. Also, there is clinical evidence
that female genital mutilation poses a serious risk in the
transmission of HIV/AIDS, especially when practiced as an
initiation rite and the same instruments are used on many girls
at the same time.