Skip to main content

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation, a form of violence and discrimination against girls and women. It is most often carried out on girls between infancy and age 15, though adult women are also subjected.

Female genital mutilation in Africa

An estimated 55 million girls under the age of 15 in 28 African countries have experienced or are at risk of experiencing FGM, which remains prevalent in parts of West, East, Central, and Northern Africa. This, despite the fact that laws against FGM are most common in the African continent where 28 countries have specific anti-FGM laws or legal provisions.

The move to end FGM in Africa has over the years gained traction on the continent with state and non-state actors at the international, regional, and national levels coalescing around actions designed to address this harmful practice.

These efforts have seen African governments commit to the global goal of ending FGM by 2030 in addition to launching a continental drive aimed at promoting and accelerating the collective abandonment of FGM at the community level through the development and enforcement of comprehensive anti-FGM laws; increasing and allocating resources to end FGM, and strengthening partnerships geared towards this.

Similarly, women’s rights defenders in Africa have banded together and are playing their part in contributing to the anti-FGM movement by holding states to account and exposing gaps that continue to put women and girls at risk of FGM. While some of them have been working under the auspices of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) and galvanizing action at the regional and national levels, others such as Hope Beyond Foundation in Kenya have been leading the campaign at the community level.

As recognition of the global prevalence of the practice increases, activists from across the continent are leading the now global movement to end female genital mutilation. In 2020, Burkina Faso submitted a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of the group of African States calling on governments globally to take “comprehensive, multisectoral and rights-based measures to prevent and eliminate female genital mutilation”.

Where are women living with the consequences of female genital mutilation or at risk in Africa? 

FGM in Africa, from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Call For A Global Response (2020)

Are there laws against female genital mutilation in Africa? 

Laws against female genital mutilation are most common in the African continent. 28 countries in Africa have enacted specific laws or specific legal provisions against female genital mutilation. 

Reporting on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – Global Edition

This toolkit is for media professionals. It provides guidelines on how to report on female genital mutilation (FGM) in a gender-sensitive, accurate, and constructive manner. FGM is internationally recognized as a …

READ MORE

Iran – Submission to the Human Rights Committee 136th Session October 2022

This submission for consideration of the List of Issues for Iran covers our concerns regarding about sex discriminatory personal status laws, the continued prevalence of female genital mutilation …

READ MORE

I need the ERA because… I have the right to bodily integrity – FGM

Despite the prevalence of the practice in the USA and the persisting risk to many women and girls, 20% of American states do not have laws criminalizing …

READ MORE