At least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries are estimated to have undergone female circumcision, half of them in Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia, the UN children’s agency said in a report released Thursday night.
The UNICEF statistical report said the global figure includes nearly 70 million more girls and women than it estimated in 2014. It said this is due to population growth in some countries and new data from Indonesia.
The UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women’s sexuality and enhances fertility. One of the targets in the new U.N. goals adopted last September calls for the practice to be eliminated by 2030.
UNICEF statistical expert Claudia Cappa, lead author of the report, said the estimate of 200 million circumcisions comes from household surveys on the prevalence of female genital mutilation, and statistical modeling.
The 30 countries, mainly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, “have large-scale representative data,” she said.
Cappa said the practice exists in other countries not in the study, where large-scale data was not available, like India, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, as well as in pockets in Australia, North America and Europe where immigrants from countries with a large number of female circumcisions live. Read More