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A Human Rights Violation

Female genital mutilation, in any form, is recognised internationally as a gross violation of human rights of girls and women.

The practice denies women and girls their right to:

  • Physical and mental integrity
  • Freedom from violence
  • The highest attainable standard of health
  • Freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments
  • Life (when the procedure results in death).

These rights are protected in several international instruments (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Convention Against Torture, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)) and regional human rights instruments including the European Convention of Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

International human rights bodies have set standards which address FGM and the human rights it violates. These international and regional standards require countries to fulfil their human rights obligations by protecting women and girls at risk of FGM.

EU Member States have signed up to most international conventions including CEDAW, CRC, CAT, ICCPR and ICESCR.

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