Physicians call for zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation across the World

Serious concern about the increasing tendency for female genital mutilation (FGM) to be carried out by medical personnel has been expressed by the World Medical Association.

In a statement to mark the international day of zero tolerance to FGM tomorrow (Feb 6), the WMA repeats its strong condemnation of this practice that it says constitutes a severe form of violence against women.

Dr. Jon Snaedal, President of the WMA, said a recent World Health Organisation report indicated that ‘the rate of progress towards a significant decline in the practice is slow’, although the practice was internationally recognised as a violation of human rights and many countries had put in place policies and legislations to ban it.

He added: ‘Because of its serious detrimental impact on the physical and mental health of women and girls, female genital mutilation is a matter of deep concern to physicians. We are particularly worried to note the increasing practice of female genital mutilation by medical personnel. This is in contradiction with our code of ethics, as these practices violate the human rights of women and girls. The WMA is totally opposed to this “medicalization” of FGM ‘.

Dr. Snaedal called for all physicians and other health professionals to mobilise actively to stop these flagrant forms of violence against women.

In 1993, the WMA adopted a statement on female genital mutilation condemning such practices as a form of oppression of women. In 2005 it strengthened its opposition, urging national medical association to develop educational programmes for physicians, which would:

  • Include adequate information on the acute dangers of Female Genital Mutilations for women and girls;
  • Raise awareness on such practices as a violation of women’s human rights that physicians or other health professionals should never practice under any circumstances,
  • Encourage physicians to inform women, men and children about FGM and discourage them from performing or promoting such practices.