The United States joins the international community in expressing zero tolerance for female genital mutilation/cutting. This practice, said President Barack Obama, "harms and holds back entire communities."
It has no place in any community and undermines efforts to empower women and girls.
At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation. The latest figures from Unicef show that nearly 70 million more girls than previously thought have been subject to this barbaric practice.
Female genital mutilation/cutting includes all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. There is no excuse for such blatant human rights violations of women and girls. As President Obama said, "Just because this a tradition in some places does not make it right. This practice is harmful and therefore wrong wherever it occurs."
That's why the U.S. has funded programming to combat female genital mutilation and cutting in places like Guinea. At home, the United States has criminalized the transport of girls to undergo female genital mutilation, worked with religious leaders and community-based organizations to raise awareness – especially in some immigrant communities, where the pressures to engage in this practice remain - and provided grant opportunities for domestic non-governmental organizations implementing innovative prevention strategies.
The United States stands with communities at home and around the globe working to prevent female genital mutilation and cutting. "We call on girls and their families, teachers, health workers, community and religious leaders, and government officials to act together to make a difference," said President Obama.
"It's time to put an end to this harmful practice, and to allow communities everywhere to meet their full potential by enabling women and girls to meet theirs."