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FGM in the Asia Pacific Region

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a human rights violation, a form of violence and discrimination against girls and women. It is most often carried out on girls between infancy and age 15, though adult women are also subjected.

Where are women living with the consequences of female genital mutilation or at risk in the Asia-Pacific region? 

In 2024, new statistics were released by UNICEF showing 230 million women and girls around the world are affected by FGM, a 15% increase or 30 million more girls and women being subjected to FGM, compared to the data released eight years ago. This figure now includes data on Asia – showing that 80 million women and girls in Asia have been subjected to FGM, marking the first time ever that statistics have been released by UNICEF demonstrating the prevalence of FGM in Asia.

Despite evidence of FGM occurring in countries across South and South East Asia, not a single country has enacted a specific legal prohibition against female genital mutilation. In the wider Asia-Pacific region, both Australia and New Zealand have specific laws against female genital mutilation. 

FGM in the Asia Pacific region, from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Call For A Global Response (2020)

The Orchid Project and Malaysia-based regional feminist NGO, the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), who are supporting the development of the Asia Network to End FGM/C have established a platform of NGOs, activists, and researchers across the region to build stronger relationships and collaboration between organizations working across the region. 

Sahiyo is an organization empowering Asian communities to end FGM through dialogue, education, and collaboration based on community involvement. Their groundbreaking exhibition, Faces for Change, highlighted the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) through portraits and personal stories of eight FGM survivors from the Dawoodi Bohra community in India. 

Other organizations and activists working to address FGM in Asia include WeSpeakOut, founded by Masooma Ranalvi, Rena Herdiyani, the vice-chairperson of Kalyanamitra in Indonesia, and Saza Faradilla in Singapore. 

Activists and groups working to end the practice across the region face monumental challenges in their work, compounded in many cases by the lack of reliable data, insufficient support and funding from the international community, and reluctance of national governments to take action on the issue, and in some cases a refusal by the national governments to recognize the existence of the practice at all. 

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