The United States in recent years has joined the international community on February 6 in observing the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). The United States remains committed to ending this egregious human rights abuse and supporting survivors of FGM/C, both at home and around the world.
According to the United Nations, more than four million women and girls are at risk of FGM/C globally each year, and the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have exacerbated the incidence of FGM/C due to economic drivers and loss of social protections. In this environment, it is more important than ever to renew our efforts to end FGM/C.
The United States recognizes that holding perpetrators accountable is essential both to punish human rights abusers and deter future instances of such abuse. That is why, on January 5, 2021, the United States signed into law the Strengthening the Opposition to Female Genital Mutilation Act (STOP FGM Act). This legislation strengthened the criminality of FGM/C and ensures that domestic violations of FGM/C can be prosecuted in federal court – and is one of the ways the United States can lead the world by example. Respect for women’s human rights is essential to sustained peace, prosperity, and security, and the United States will continue to work toward a future in which all women and girls are afforded enjoyment of their human rights.