BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: A newly released United Nations (UN) report shows that millions of girls under the age of 15 remain at risk of female genital mutilation or cutting despite such practices being on the decline.
According to UN statistics, 8% of Iraqi women aged 15 to 49 have been mutilated.
The UN report released on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation says that fewer girls have experienced the life-threatening practice.
“Overall, female genital mutilation or cutting has been less prevalent and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice,” says the report, which was made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
Thirty-six percent of girls aged between 15 and 19 years in 29 African and Middle Eastern countries where the most female genital mutilation practices take place have been mutilated, lower than the 53 percent of women aged 45 to 49 years.
Some countries even show quite a sharp decline.
In Kenya, for example, women aged 45 to 49 years are three times more likely to have been mutilated than girls aged 15 to 19 years.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) executive director Anthony Lake said that this progress showed that it was possible to end female genital mutilation.
“Female genital mutilation is not only deeply wrong.
We can and must end it to help millions of girls and women lead healthier lives,” said Lake.
The latest UNICEF data show that at least 120 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation and cutting in 29 countries.
Referring to the current trend, as many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 may be still at risk of such a practice.