As might be expected, the incidence of female genital mutilation (FGM) has increased dramatically in Germany since the current migration wave began two years ago.
Genital Mutilation: Almost 50,000 victims in Germany
There are approximately 47,300 victims of female genital mutilation living in Germany. This emerges from the first survey of the national prevalence of the phenomenon, introduced by the Federal Ministry for Families today. The 6th of February is an action day for the United Nations and several rescue organizations opposing the practice, which is widespread mainly in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, but also in Indonesia in Southeast Asia. In the process of being mutilated, often girls as under five years old have their outer genitalia cut. The clitoris and labia are amputated and partially sewn closed. Millions of women experience severe trauma during this procedure, as well later on during intercourse and giving birth. While the circumcision of boys may be justified for the purposes of better hygiene and the prevention of ailments, there are no medical arguments at all for cutting the genitals of girls.
According to the study, the number of women affected in Germany rose by 30 percent from end of 2014 through mid-2016 because of immigration from states where this cruel tradition is practiced.
“Female genital mutilation is a severe violation of human rights. It causes inconceivable physical torture and mental suffering,” explains the Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry for Families, Ralf Kleindiek.
According to the study, in this country between 1,558 and 5,684 daughters of migrants are at the risk of genital mutilation. Under German law, this ordeal is also punishable when carried out abroad. Because parents had been submitting their daughters to a “holiday cutting” in their native country to avoid the law, the federal government in December of 2016 implemented a change in the passport law. In future, the passports of persons who travel abroad for a genital mutilation of a girl or woman can be revoked.
Meanwhile, progress can be seen in the worldwide battle against female genital mutilation. Today the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Geneva reports that regions and villages inhabited by a total of 8.5 million people publicly made the commitment in the past year to stop the cruel practice.
According to estimates, 200 million women worldwide are genitally mutilated. Half of them live in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Indonesia. In Somalia, Guinea and Djibouti, more than 90 percent of women are affected. UNFPA points out that the mutilation is partially depicted as a religious requirement, but that there is no basis for that. The practice is to some extent thousands of years old. Often older women insist on keeping the tradition. The UN intends to completely stop the practice by 2030.
More and more African countries support information campaigns, says Adebisi Adebayo of the Inter-African Committee for Questions of Traditional Practices. Since 2008, according to UNFPA, thirteen countries made genital mutilation a punishable offense. In the past year four more African countries provided funds for education in their national budget. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is pressuring doctors, not to agree to do genital mutilation. Some have done it to prevent girls being cut under unhygienic circumstances, says Christina Pallitto of WHO. But the practice completely contravenes medical ethics.