One in four genital mutilations has been done by medical staff

One of every four victims of female genital mutilation has suffered this practice at the hands of health personnel, according to UNICEF data, which claims that it is increasingly common for professionals to carry out this violation of the rights of girls and women.

"Mutilation by a doctor remains mutilation. Health professionals who perform female genital mutilation violate the fundamental rights, physical integrity and health of girls," Henrietta Fore, the executive director of the UN agency for children.

According to UNICEF data, there are currently 200 million girls and women in the world who have suffered this practice and, of them, about 52 million at the hands of health workers, approximately 25 percent.

This proportion is twice as high among adolescent girls (34 percent in the case of victims aged 15 to 19) as among women aged 45 to 49 (16 percent), according to an analysis published on the occasion of the Day Zero Tolerance International with Female Genital Mutilation.

According to UNICEF, the tendency for more and more professionals to practice ablation derives from the "mistaken belief" that their risks "are due to the absence of medical procedures, rather than attributed to a fundamental violation of the rights of the girls. "

The UN agency emphasizes that medicalizing the practice does not end with the danger it represents for women, since it eliminates and damages healthy and normal tissue and interferes with the natural functions of the girl's body.

According to the study, mutilation by health professionals is extremely common in places like Egypt, even though the country banned the practice in 2008.

Meanwhile, according to UNICEF, more and more women - especially younger women - are opposed to female genital mutilation in countries where it is still used.

"Female genital mutilation is rooted in gender inequalities, and the first step to ending it is to change people's mentality," Fore said.

"We are making progress. Attitudes are changing. Behaviors are changing. And, in general, there are fewer cases," he said.

Despite this, UNICEF recalls that up to 68 million girls are at risk of suffering it by 2030.


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