FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children.

In 2008, UNFPA and UNICEF established the Joint Programme on FGM, the largest global programme to accelerate abandonment of FGM and to provide care for its consequences.

The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Who is at risk?

About 200 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women. Worldwide, more than 4.6 million are projected to be subjected to FGM annually by 2030.

Between 2015 and 2030, 68 million girls globally are at risk of FGM if efforts are not accelerated to end this harmful practice.

FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women. SDG Goal 5 calls for an end to FGM by 2030 At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries where representative data is available. Before age 5 in most of these countries the majority of girls were cut before age 5.