Female Genital Mutilation
Carried out for traditional, cultural or religious reasons, FGM can cause severe health problems and even lead to death. Young girls are particularly vulnerable and FGM disproportionately affects the female child.
UNHCR considers that all types of FGM are harmful and a violation of human rights. We are committed to supporting global efforts to end the scourge, which is a form of gender-based violence that inflicts severe harm on victims, both mental and physical, and amounts to persecution.
Specifically, UNHCR works to eliminate female genital mutilation among refugees in camps and in urban areas in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen, running awareness programmes about FGM, supporting community engagement and providing safe houses for victims. UNHCR also addresses the medical consequences of FGM for women and girls, thus supporting their ability to pursue economic and other activities and so become more self-reliant and empowered.
UNHCR also advocates for the protection of asylum-seeking women and girls in industrialized countries and their full inclusion in integration programmes. We work with state and civil society partners to enhance the protection of women and girls seeking asylum on the grounds of FGM and the response of the asylum system to the specific needs of women and girls who have undergone FGM. UNHCR also works to fully include the needs of these victims in existing integration support.
Who we work with to eliminate FGM
- UNICEF, Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
- World Health Organization
- UN General Assembly, Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly , 5 March 2013, A/RES/67/146
- WHO. 2008. Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation: An interagency statement
- Amnesty International/End FGM Campaign
FGM: Documents and Reports
- UNHCR, Action against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: An Updated Strategy, June 2011
- UNHCR, Guidance Note on Refugee Claims relating to Female Genital Mutilation, May 2009
- UNHCR, Conclusion on Children at Risk, 5 October 2007, No. 107 (LVIII) - 2007
- UNHCR, Too Much Pain: Female Genital Mutilation & Asylum in the European Union - A Statistical Overview, February 2013
- UNHCR Refworld Special Feature on Gender Equality and Women
- UNHCR, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons. Guidelines for Prevention and Response, May 2003
- UNHCR, UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls, January 2008