Genital mutilation - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says three million girls are still at the risk of genital mutilation each year.
In a message to mark International Day against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the UNFPA called for change of perception on the practice.
The practice is still widespread in spite of a global commitment in 2002 to end FGM by 2010. The UN agency also blamed the continued practice on social and cultural perceptions.
It estimates that 120 to 140 million women have been subjected to this harmful and dangerous practice.
The UNFPA said: 'Girls and their families will face shame, social exclusion and diminished marriage prospects if they forego cutting.
'FGM poses immediate and long-term consequences for the health of women and girls, and violates their human rights.
'The agency noted that decline in the number of FGM had been recorded in some communities, which had chosen to make public declarations against the practice.
It cited Senegal, where genital mutilation had declined by up to 65 per cent.'Success in reducing the incidence in several countries where it was once highly prevalent has occurred as a result of culturally sensitive engagement with local communities and encouraging change from within,' the agency said.
6 February of every year has been designated by the UN as International Day against Female Genital Mutilation.The day has been set aside to raise awareness among the general public about this traditional but harmful practice.
The UN insists that FGM 'severely violates the human rights of women and girls'.
Its report estimates that in the 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East where female genital mutilation/cutting is performed, some 130 million women and girls have been affected.
In addition to causing severe pain, FGM can result in prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and death.
New York - Pana 08/02/2010
Fonte: UN Agency