It came to the international attention in the past days that, in June 2019, a nine-year old girl was subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a clinic in Magas, the capital of the Northern Caucasus region of Ingushetia (Russian Federation) at her father's initiative. The mother of the girl did not consent to the operation and pressed charges against the gynaecologist who performed the operation, who is now under trial.
Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI), the Russian human rights organisation which has taken up the case, has been shedding a light during the past years on the existence of multiple FGM cases in Russia, through quantitative and qualitative studies.
“FGM is a global issue and is happening also in Europe” said Chiara Cosentino, acting Director of the End FGM European Network. “It is high time that we open our eyes on the fact that it is a practice happening in all continents except Antarctica and that it is present in at least 92 countries worldwide, including in Russia, as shown in our most recent Report”.
In Russia, the Avar community in East Dagestan practices FGM. Type I FGM (clitoridectomy) is the most common, though among the Andi people, removal of the clitoral gland / external clitoris and the labia minora (Type II FGM) is also observed. Prevalence in the region varies in different districts, ranging from 90-100% in the Botlikhsky and Tsuntinsky regions to 50% in the Tlyaratinsky region, to an estimated 25% of girls and women who have been subjected to FGM or are at risk in the Tsyumadinsky and Kizlyarsky regions. It is estimated that 1.240 girls are at risk of undergoing FGM every year. These data, coming out of SJI’s most recent studies, are featured in the Global Report that End FGM European Network, in collaboration with Equality Now and the US End FGM/C Network, issued in March 2020. Moreover, Russia does not have a specific law banning FGM and an investigation into the case would be a first for the country.
“End FGM EU will closely follow the events, in cooperation with its local partners”, concluded Chiara Cosentino. “We hope that the international attention drawn by this case will ensure we leave no girl behind, even if they live in countries that are not traditionally considered as affected by FGM. Decision-makers must take urgent action, put in place comprehensive policies and scale up investments to ensure tackling FGM becomes a priority, even in Russia.”
How to talk about or report on FGM?
FGM is a sensitive topic and needs to be reported as such. For more information on How to talk about FGM click here.
For further information please contact the End FGM European Network at info[at]endfgm.eu.