National Commission For Women Comes Out In Support To Ban Female Genital Mutilation In India

According to a study carried out by Sahiyo in 2015, nearly 80 per cent of women from the Dawoodi Bohra community in India had faced genital mutilation.

New Delhi: The National Commission for Women said it supports the demand for a law to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in India. Female genital mutilation is one of the ‘darkest’ secrets of India and the ‘ritual’ is carried out by the Dawoodi Bohra community where young girls are subjected to genital cutting.

The two petitions initiated on Change.org on ‘Speak Out on FGM’  say that UN recognises India as a country where female genital mutilation (FGM) is still practised and appeals to the international body to cover Asian countries in campaigns and research on the practice.

These petitions follow a campaign- #EndFGM – started by survivor group ‘Speak Out on FGM’ on Change.org in 2015 and a collective of 33 global organisation which includes ‘Sahiyo’ – urging the government to frame a law to ban this practice.

The cause has garnered 85,000 signatures. Most of these petitions are from women throughout the country who have undergone this practice.

“NCW has long held the view that genital mutilation is an infringement on an individual’s human right. We will advocate the need for a law to end this practice,” NCW Chairperson
Lalitha Kumaramangalam said.

Petitioners feel that if the UN recognises India as a country where FGM is practised they will be able to exert pressure on the government to ban it. Eliminating FGM by 2030 is a global target of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“The United Nations has declared FGM as a human rights violation and provides support to anti-FGM campaigners around the world. Because of this support many African countries have banned FGM.

With the UN recognition (that FGM exists in India), we the Bohra women will be able to make official appeals to the Indian government,” said Masooma Ranalvi of ‘Speak Out on FGM’.

According to a study carried out by Sahiyo in 2015, nearly 80 per cent of women from the Dawoodi Bohra community in India had faced genital mutilation.

It demands that the UN look at FGM as more than just a “faraway African problem” and include countries like India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, Brunei, Russia (Dagestan), Bangladesh, and Iran where it is being carried out.

This, says Sahiyo, will help in getting the much needed investment in data collection and research in these countries on the issue.

“According to the United Nations, at least 200 million women in 30 countries have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C),” said Sahiyo in a press statement.

However, these statistics are largely restricted to sub-Saharan Africa and ignore the global scope of the issue, it said.

“To truly end FGM by 2030, we need all affected communities, including those in Asia, to be supported,” it said.

In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution on the elimination of FGM. Across the world, FGM is being outlawed in many countries. It is banned
in over 20 countries in Africa itself.

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