At least 200 million women and girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, in 30 countries according to a latest report released. However the chance that a girl will be cut today is about one-third lower than it was 30 years ago.
The prevalence rates of FGM among girls aged 15 to 19 have declined by 41 percentage points in Liberia, 31 in Burkina Faso, 30 in Kenya and 27 in Egypt over the last 30 years, according to UNICEF.
Gambia criminalized FGM in December with a jail term of up to three years.
In Nigeria, former President Goodluck Jonathan also signed a bill to officially outlaw female circumcision before leaving office.
But the overall rate of progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. If current trends continue the number of girls and women subjected to FGM will increase significantly over the next 15 years, the report added.
As the world marks International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, UNICEF said the biggest number of people that have undergone the practise live in 3 countries, Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
A new statistics released indicated that most of the victims were cut before their fifth birthday.
“Female genital mutilation differs across regions and cultures, with some forms involving life-threatening health risks. In every case FGM violates the rights of girls and women. We must all accelerate efforts, governments, health professionals, community leaders, parents and families to eliminate the practice,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
The target is to eliminate FGM by the year 2030.