The UN and Their Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

In big news on Monday, the UN approved a resolution that banned the practice of female genital mutilation.

It was a unanimous decision. This resolution has 110 sponsors and is virtually certain to be approved by the entire general assembly, most likely by the end of this year. At this point, all 193 member states will be instructed to enact legislation, lead educational campaigns and establish punishments for violators in order to protect women and girls from “this form of violence.”

 

According to the UN…

According to the UN’s PDF on female genital mutilation:

“Female genital mutilation has no known health benefits. On the contrary, it is known to be harmful to girls and women in many ways. First and foremost, it is painful and traumatic. The removal of or damage to healthy, normal genital tissue interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long-term health consequences. For example, babies born to women who have undergone female genital mutilation suffer a higher rate of neonatal death compared with babies born to women who have not undergone the procedure.”

While the procedure is usually quite different for boys and girls, they have categorized the types of genital mutilation. According to the UN, Type Ia is the removal of the prepuce only. Given that the removal of the prepuce is exactly what happens during a male circumcision and given the statement above written by the UN itself, I ponder:

  • The labia and clitoral area of a vagina has many folds and crevices, much more than the male foreskin. The only supposed “health benefits” male circumcision have to do with this principle. It would seem that if female circumcision has no known health benefits, then male circumcision would have none as well. Either folds collect bacteria and viruses or they don’t. Either it’s worth the health risks or it isn’t.
  • Male circumcision is also painful and traumatic. I have seen numerous medical instructional videos of the procedure and heard the high pitched screams of little boys. If anesthesia is to be considered a factor with male circumcision, then it must certainly be given the same weight with female circumcision, but it isn’t. According to the UN, ALL TYPES of female circumcision is deemed painful and traumatic. Given that, male circumcision is also painful and traumatic, because girls and boys both have high concentrations of nerve endings in the genital area and the ability to feel that pain at any age.
  • The removal of healthy normal genital tissue on boys also interferes with the natural functioning of the body and causes several immediate and long term health consequences.
  • Baby boys who have undergone circumcision also suffer a higher rate of neonatal death compared to babies who have not undergone this procedure.

The UN’s PDF continues:

“Communities that practise female genital mutilation report a variety of social and religious reasons for continuing with it. Seen from a human rights perspective, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. Female genital mutilation is nearly always carried out on minors and is therefore a violation of the rights of the child. The practice also violates the rights to health, security and physical integrity of the person, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.”

In addition the UN’s PDF states:

“Female genital mutilation deprives girls and women from making an independent decision about an intervention that has a lasting effect on their bodies and infringes on their autonomy and control over their lives. The right to participate in cultural life and freedom of religion are protected by international law. However, international law stipulates that freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs might be subject to limitations necessary to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. Therefore, social and cultural claims cannot be evoked to justify female genital mutilation (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18.3; UNESCO, 2001, Article 4).”

The PDF the UN assembled also said:

“Trained health professionals who perform female genital mutilation are violating girls’ and women’s right to life, right to physical integrity, and right to health. They are also violating the fundamental medical ethic to ‘Do no harm’.”

Again, I ask myself, “Why are these statements not also true for boys?”

 

What’s good for the goose…

Oh wait! You know what? It IS all true for boys.

Quite technically, this resolution also calls for a global ban on male genital mutilation as well, whether anyone realizes it or not.

BECAUSE…. (drum roll please)

Article Seven of the United Nations’ very own UNIVERSAL DECLARATION of Human Rights states:

“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”

What is a human rights violation for girls is also a human rights violation for boys per the UN’s very own Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

This is the beginning of the end of male genital mutilation around the globe as well.

 

4 Comments

  1. Mike

    Apparently equality is only for females. I can’t understand how people continually talk about equality, but then want the scales tipped to one sides favor. Is that like compensation for being screwed prior to that? Don’t punish the baby boys for the idiots making the laws long before they were born. Great article. Hopefully you are correct, and some people will start calling them out about the universal declaration of human rights.

  2. Michelle MD

    Actually, female circumcision was reported to decrease HIV in one study that never received any major attention. And of course, the tissue removed is not going to get infected or develop cancer or any other disease. And in many cultures, female circumcision is socially accepted and makes females more marriageable. The same reasons given for female circumcision apply equally to male circumcision. But “cultural blinders” make people unable to see that both are the same. It will take awhile and we must continue to repeat that Male Circumcision is unethical, dangerous, and provides NO benefits to males or their partners.

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