Tag Archives: Human rights

The rights of the individual to cultural, social, economic, and educational opportunities as provided by society, e.g., right to work, right to education, and right to social security.

Reconciling female genital circumcision with universal human rights

Dev World Bioeth. 2017 Sep 18. doi: 10.1111/dewb.12173. [Epub ahead of print]

Reconciling female genital circumcision with universal human rights

Gordon JS


One of the most challenging issues in cross-cultural bioethics concerns the long-standing socio-cultural practice of female genital circumcision (FGC), which is prevalent in many African countries and the Middle East as well as in some Asian and Western countries. It is commonly assumed that FGC, in all its versions, constitutes a gross violation of the universal human rights of health, physical integrity, and individual autonomy and hence should be abolished. This article, however, suggests a mediating approach according to which one form of FGC, the removal of the clitoris foreskin, can be made compatible with the high demands of universal human rights. The argument presupposes the idea that human rights are not absolutist by nature but can be framed in a meaningful, culturally sensitive way. It proposes important limiting conditions that must be met for the practice of FGC to be considered in accordance with the human rights agenda.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female genital mutilation in children presenting to a London safeguarding clinic: a case series

Arch Dis Child. 2015 Jul 27. pii: archdischild-2015-308243. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2015-308243. [Epub ahead of print]

Female genital mutilation in children presenting to a London safeguarding clinic: a case series.

Hodes D, Armitage A, Robinson K, Creighton SM


OBJECTIVE: To describe the presentation and management of children referred with suspected female genital mutilation (FGM) to a UK safeguarding clinic.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Case series of all children under 18 years of age referred with suspected FGM between June 2006 and May 2014.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: These include indication for referral, demographic data, circumstances of FGM, medical symptoms, type of FGM, investigations and short-term outcome.

RESULTS: Of the 47 girls referred, 27 (57%) had confirmed FGM. According to the WHO classification of genital findings, FGM type 1 was found in 2 girls, type 2 in 8 girls and type 4 in 11 girls. No type 3 FGM was seen. The circumstances of FGM were known in 17 cases, of which 12 (71%) were performed by a health professional or in a medical setting (medicalisation). Ten cases were potentially illegal, yet despite police involvement there have been no prosecutions.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is an important snapshot of FGM within the UK paediatric population. The most frequent genital finding was type 4 FGM with no tissue damage or minimal scarring. FGM was performed at a young age, with 15% reported under the age of 1 year. The study also demonstrated significant medicalisation of FGM, which matches recent trends in international data. Type 4 FGM performed in infancy is easily missed on examination and so vigilance in assessing children with suspected FGM is essential.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Awareness and predictors of female genital mutilation/cutting among young health advocates

FREEInt J Womens Health. 2015 Feb 20;7:259-69. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S78664. eCollection 2015.

Awareness and predictors of female genital mutilation/cutting among young health advocates

Abolfotouh SM, Ebrahim AZ, Abolfotouh MA


The act of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is considered internationally as a violent act against girls and women and a violation of their human rights. This study sought to assess the awareness and predictors of FGM/C in young Egyptian health advocates. A cross-sectional study of 600 medical students from a total of 2,500 members of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA)-Egypt, across all Egyptian medical schools, was conducted using a previously validated online Google survey. The overall prevalence of circumcision was 14.7/100 female students, with a significantly higher prevalence in students from rural areas (25%) than in non-rural areas (10.8%, P=0.001), and in those residing in Upper (southern) Egypt (20.6%) than in Lower (northern) Egypt (8.7%, P=0.003). The students’ mean percentage score for knowledge about the negative health consequences of FGM/C was 53.50±29.07, reflecting a modest level of knowledge; only 30.5% had a good level of knowledge. The mean percentage score for the overall attitude toward discontinuation of the practice of FGM/C was 76.29±17.93, reflecting a neutral attitude; 58.7% had a favorable attitude/norms toward discontinuation of the practice. Of circumcised students, approximately one-half (46.8%) were unwilling to have their daughters circumcised, and 60% reported no harm from being circumcised. After controlling for confounders, a negative attitude toward FGM/C was significantly (P<0.001 in all cases) associated with male sex, residency in Upper Egypt, rural origin, previous circumcision, and the preclinical medical phase of education. The low level of knowledge among even future health professions in our study suggests that communication, rather than passive learning, is needed to convey the potentially negative consequences of FGM/C and to drive a change in attitude toward discontinuation of this harmful practice.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Genital mutilation of girls

Women’s Health (Lond Engl), 3(4): 475-485 , DOI 10.2217/17455057.3.4.475

Genital mutilation of girls

Almroth L, Elmusharaf S


Female genital mutilation is a traditional practice affecting girls when their genitals are cut for social, cultural or other non-medical reasons. It is estimated that 3 million girls undergo the procedure every year, mainly in areas in Africa and Asia where it is traditionally practised, but owing to migration patterns, girls living in other parts of the world are also at risk. This article describes the practice of female genital mutilation in a changing world and outlines some aspects in relation to female genital mutilation in girls and women that health staff, teachers, social workers and others should pay attention to. Knowledge regarding complications is important for healthcare, but when complications have been used as arguments against the practice this has had limited effect. Information regarding health risks has to be integrated into culturally sensitive approaches based on human rights and improving the situation for girls and women in order to reach a point where genital mutilation of girls will be generally abandoned.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female Genital Mutilation: A Human Rights Perspective

Journal of Psychology in Africa. 2009, 19(1):55-61

Female genital mutilation: a human rights perspective

Odeku K, Rembe S & Anwo J


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) constitutes all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural or non-therapeutic reasons. The practice remains an extremely complex and culturally sensitive. It involves a broad spectrum of issues such as child health and human rights standards. FGM constitutes an unacceptable violation of the rights of the girl child and adult women to their natural sexuality. International human rights covenants underscore the obligations of the United Nations member States to ensure the protection and promotion of human rights, including the rights to non-discrimination, life and physical and mental integrity. Despite the outlawing of the practice in many countries, it is still prevalent in Africa. Various human rights instruments have the potentials to prevent, stop and eliminate the practice by holding perpetrators responsible and accountable.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

[The voice of women subjected to female genital mutilation in the Region of Murcia (Spain).] [Article in Spanish]

Gac Sanit. 2014 Mar 24. pii: S0213-9111(14)00047-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2014.02.006. [Epub ahead of print]

[The voice of women subjected to female genital mutilation in the Region of Murcia (Spain).] [Article in Spanish]

Ballesteros Meseguer C, Almansa Martínez P, Pastor Bravo MD, Jiménez Ruiz I.


OBJECTIVE: To explore the perceptions of a group of women who underwent female genital mutilation on the impact of this practice on their sexual and reproductive health.

METHODS: We performed a phenomenological qualitative study in a sample of 9 sub-Saharan Africa women, whose mean age was 30 years old and who had lived in Spain for 1 to 14 years. These women underwent genital mutilation in their countries of origin. Data was collected using a socio-demographic survey and an in-depth, structured personal interview. Subsequently, we performed a thematic discourse analysis.

RESULTS: The discourses were grouped into four categories related to participants’ perceptions of female genital mutilation. These categories were intimate relationships, pregnancy, childbirth, and social impact.

CONCLUSIONS: The practice of female genital mutilation is maintained due to social and family pressure, transmitted from generation to generation and silenced by women themselves. This practice affects their sexual and reproductive health, as demonstrated by anorgasmia and dyspareunia. The women were satisfied with the healthcare received during pregnancy and childbirth. Nevertheless, most of them were not satisfied with family planning.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

UK’s shameful record on female genital mutilation.

BMJ. 2012 Dec 3;345:e8121. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8121.FREE

UK’s shameful record on female genital mutilation.

Lloyd-Roberts S.

BBC, London, UK. sue.lloyd-roberts@bbc.co.uk

Comment in BMJ. 2013;346:f29.


Last month the Crown Prosecution Service announced plans to crack down on practitioners of female genital mutilation. Sue Lloyd-Roberts asks why we are lagging behind our European neighbours

Ayanna, a 23 year old mother now living on the 15th floor of a Glasgow tower block, fled Gambia a year ago and applied for asylum in the UK to escape an abusive husband and prevent her 6 month old baby girl from being genitally mutilated. “My husband would have insisted,” she explains. “All the women in my community have been cut.”

She says she feels safe in Scotland but tries to avoid contact with the African community. “They’ll tell me that my daughter should be cut. It’s being done here,” she says, pointing through the window at the other tower blocks which make up the Red Road housing estate. “The older women do it—the grandmothers,” she explains. “They use scissors, razor blades, or sharp knives. I know that just last week one 3 year old and a 2 week old baby were cut.”…

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female genital mutilation in Djibouti.

Afr Health Sci. 2012 Dec;12(4):412-5.FREE

Female genital mutilation in Djibouti.

Martinelli M, Ollé-Goig JE. Hôpital Balbala, Djibouti.


The practice of female genital mutilation (we will use the latest definition adopted by WHO/UNFP: female genital mutilation/cutting or FGM/C) is still widespread in 28 African countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than two million females undergo some form of genital mutilation every year. Its negative health impact and its ethical and human rights aspects have been discussed and attempts to eliminate it have been the objectives of several meetings promoted by national and international organisations thanks to an increased awareness related to FGM/C in those countries practicing it and also, maybe due to the number of Africans migrating to industrialized countries. We review the present situation in Djibouti, a small country in the Horn of Africa, where 98 % of the female population has suffered different forms of FGM/C.

This article can be accessed in this LINK

Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

J Med Ethics. 2007 Feb;33(2):98-101. FREE

Female genital mutilation: the ethical impact of the new Italian law.

Turillazzi E, Fineschi V.

Department of Legal Medicine, University of Foggia, Policlinico Ospedali Riuniti, Via Luigi Pinto 1, 71100 Foggia, Italy.


Despite global and local attempts to end female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice persists in some parts of the world and has spread to non-traditional countries through immigration. FGM is of varying degrees of invasiveness, but all forms raise health-related concerns that can be of considerable physical or psychological severity. FGM is becoming increasingly prohibited by law, both in countries where it is traditionally practised and in countries of immigration. Medical practice prohibits FGM. The Italian parliament passed a law prohibiting FGM, which has put in place a set of measures to prevent, to oppose and to suppress the practice of FGM as a violation of a person’s fundamental rights to physical and mental integrity and to the health of women and girls. The Italian law not only treats new offences but also wants to deal with the problem in its entirety, providing important intervention in all the sectors. Different kinds of interventions are considered, starting with the development of informative campaigns, training of health workers, institution of a tollfree number, international cooperation programmes and the responsibility of the institution where the crime is committed. Particularly, the law recognises that doctors have a role in eliminating FGM by educating patients and communities.

This article can be accessed for free in this LINK

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Br J Community Nurs. 2009 Feb;14(2):86-9.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003: an overview for district nurses.

Griffith R, Tengnah C.

School of Health Sciences, Swansea University, UK. richard.griffith@swan.ac.uk


Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM with some three million girls at risk in Africa every year. The procedure has no health benefits and can cause severe bleeding and continence problems, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths. FGM is internationally recognized as a violation of one’s human rights (World Health Organisation, 2008). In the UK it is a procedure outlawed by the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

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