Reports focus on female genital mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Lancet. 2010 Mar;375(9717):794

Reports focus on female genital mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan

Burki T


Campaigns against female genital mutilation have mainly targeted African nations, where most mutilations occur. Now two reports hope to highlight the issue further afield. Talha Burki reports.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread in Africa but also occurs in Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia; parts of Indonesia and Malaysia; and in specific immigrant communities in North America and Europe. Two new reports—one published by German relief organisation WADI on Feb 6, the other to be issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) later this year—centre on an arena hitherto neglected by researchers and activists: Iraqi Kurdistan.

Kurdish northern Iraq is an autonomous region consisting of the three governorates of Dohuk, Arbil, and Suleymaniya, with a population of about 5·5 million, and several provinces in neighbouring governorates, one of which, Kirkuk, awaits the result of a referendum to determine whether it will become part of Kurdistan.

“Most girls in northern Iraq are likely to have undergone FGM”, concludes the WADI report, which surveyed more than 1400 women across the region. The average rate of FGM was 72·7%, but in some areas was virtually 100%….

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