|Amnesty International Ireland|
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Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Female genital mutilation is classified into four types:
Type I: Also known as clitoridectomy, this type consists of partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or its prepuce.
Type II: Also known as excision, the clitoris and labia minora are partially or totally removed, with or without excision of the labia majora.
Type III: The most severe form, it is also known as infibulation or pharaonic type. The procedure consists of narrowing the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal by cutting and appositioning the labia minora and/or labia majora, with or without removal of the clitoris. The appositioning of the wound edges consists of stitching or holding the cut areas together for a certain period of time (for example, girls’ legs are bound together), to create the covering seal. A small opening is left for urine and menstrual blood to escape. An infibulation must be opened either through penetrative sexual intercourse or surgery.
Type IV: This type consists of all other procedures to the genitalia of women for non-medical purposes, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization.
Recent estimates indicate that around 90% of cases include clitoridectomy, excision or cases where girls’ genitals are “nicked” but no flesh removed (Type IV), and about 10% are infibulations (WHO).
See drawings that illustrate the types of FGM here (Courtesy American Association of Paediatrics).
This site has been produced with the financial support of the Daphne Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the End FGM European Network and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.
This project is funded with support from the Human Dignity Foundation (HDF) and the Wallace Global Fund (WGF). The ideas, opinions and comments therein are entirely the responsibility of its authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect HDF and WGF policies.