This submission outlines the gaps in protection of the rights of women and girls in India from the harmful practice of FGM/C, provides critical information on the prevalence of FGM/C/Khafz within the country, and provides recommendations on the actions needed to be taken by the Indian government to eliminate the practice of FGM/C.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is known to be practiced in India by the Dawoodi, Alvi and Suleimani Bohra communities, as well as certain sections of Sunni Muslims. In the Bohra community, khatna/khafz (which largely consists of the removal of the prepuce tissue off the clitoris) is equivalent to Type I or Type IV FGM/C as classified by the World Health Organization. This practice causes deep physical, sexual, and/or psychological harm to women and girls who are subjected to it.
India has not received any recommendations relating to FGM/C in previous UPR cycles, likely due to lack of awareness, both within India and globally, about the prevalence of FGM/C in the country. However, in previous UPR cycles, the Indian government has made recommendations to Guinea in 2020 to “[c]ontinue its efforts to eliminate harmful practices such as forced marriage and female genital mutilation”; to Mali in 2018 to “[a]dopt legislation outlawing all forms of gender-based violence, including the traditional practice of female genital mutilation” ; and to Gambia in 2014 to “[c]onsider enacting a comprehensive law prohibiting the practice of female genital mutilation”. Despite this, within its own country, the Indian government has failed to take any steps to end FGM/C and even denies the existence of this harmful practice.
Submitted By: WeSpeakOut, Equality Now, Sahiyo, South Asia Forum for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Institute of Islamic Studies and The YP Foundation