ISIS Forces Female Genital Mutilation in Iraq – UN
By Athena Yenko | July 26, 2014 12:38 PM EST
The militant group ISIS is forcing all girls in and around Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), the United Nations claims according to various reports.
A Christian woman, who fled from the violence in Mosul two days ago, holds her daughter as her baby sleeps at a school in Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region June 27, 2014. Iraqi forces launched an airborne assault on rebel-held Tikrit on Thursday with commandos flown into a stadium in helicopters, at least one of which crashed after taking fire from insurgents who have seized northern cities. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT SOCIETY
However, the credibility of the purported report from UN was questioned by Middle East analysts because cultural traditions in Mosul object FGM.
On July 22, UN released data saying that there are more than 130 million girls and women who had been subjected to FGM across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The report does not specify Iraq in particular or any mention of the ISIS.
"The numbers tell us we must accelerate our efforts. And let's not forget that these numbers represent real lives. While these are problems of a global scale, the solutions must be local, driven by communities, families and girls themselves to change mindsets and break the cycles that perpetuate FGM/C and child marriage. We can't let the staggering numbers numb us - they must compel us to act," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement.
UN defines FGM as the practice by which a part or all of a girl's external genitalia are cut away. The practice has no health benefits, causes severe pain and has several immediate and long-term health consequences, including prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and death, according to the UN.
The report had also underlined the rampant child marriage in the regions. More than 700 million women alive at present were married when they were just children. One in three or approximately 250 million were married before the age of 15.
"FGM and child marriage profoundly and permanently harm girls, denying them their right to make their own decisions and to reach their full potential. They are detriments to the girls themselves, their families, and their societies. Girls are not property; they have the right to determine their destiny. When they do so, everyone benefits," Lake added.
UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock gave assurance that she will seek clarification to know whether ISIS is forcing FGM among girls in Iraq.
"We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised. This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed. This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists," Badcock said.
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