Laws on Female Genital Cutting


U.S. Legislation: Recognizing the growing problem of FGC in the U.S., American lawmakers have updated laws about the practice. It’s still tough to prosecute people who violate the law, because of secrecy so one of the most important things is education and support of young women. Here are the facts on FGC in American laws:

  • Congress has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to undertake several FGC-related interventions. These include compiling data on the extent of FGC in the United States, engaging in education and outreach activities to relevant communities, and developing recommendations for the medical community/li>
  • The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service must provide information on the harmful effects of FGC as well as on the legal consequences of FGC under criminal or child protection statutes to all aliens issued U.S. visas.
  • Congress enacted legislation requiring U.S. executive directors of international financial institutions to actively oppose non-humanitarian loans to countries that have not taken measures to prevent FGC.
  • Since 1994, seven states (California, Delaware, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) passed legislation against the practice of FGC. Legislation is pending in Colorado, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.

Global Legislation:

  • Countries with laws or regulations against FGC include Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Ghana, Great Britain, Guinea, Sudan, Sweden, and the United States. Nine African countries in total have laws against FGC
  • Existing laws against assault and child abuse cover FGC in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.
  • Governments that support FGC eradication include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.

Human Rights Efforts:

The international community and Human Rights orgs have taken action against FGC. The following documents condemn, in some form or another, the bodily and sexual injuries against women and girls. Despite all this legislation, few countries are taking direct action to stop FGC and prosecute those people who participate in FGC-related practices

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1959)
  • The African Charter on Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990)
  • The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1992)
  • The United Nations Declaration on Violence Against Women (1993)
  • The World Conference on Human Rights, Declaration and Programme of Action, Vienna (1993)
  • The United Nations High Commission on Refugees, Statement Against Gender-Based Violence (1996).