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United Nations: Resolution on Ending Genital Mutilation Passed

(Dec. 31, 2012) On December 20, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the nations of the world to eliminate female genital mutilation, a term used to refer to several different practices involving cutting of female genital organs for non-medical purposes. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary General, called the action “historic” and a move towards a world without violence against women. (Ban Welcomes UN General Assemby Resolutions Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation, UN NEWS CENTRE (Dec. 21, 2012).)

The resolution was aimed at ending the genital mutilation that has affected about 140 million women globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (Id.; WHO, Female Genital Mutilation, Fact Sheet No. 241 (Feb. 2012).) The practice often results in severe bleeding, difficulty urinating, cysts, infections, infertility, and complications in childbirth and can lead to an increased risk of death for newborns. (WHO, supra.)

The statement issued by Ban’s office said that the U.N. resolution urges “countries to condemn all harmful practices that affect women and girls, in particular female genital mutilation, and to take all necessary measures, including enforcing legislation, awareness-raising and allocating sufficient resources to protect women and girls from this form of violence.” (Ban Welcomes UN General Assembly Resolutions Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation, supra.) The resolution had been sponsored by two-thirds of the Member States. (Id.)

Resolution A/RES/67/146 on ending genital mutilation was one of 56 resolutions and nine decisions adopted on the same day. (Resolutions, General Assembly website (last visited Dec. 27, 2012) [scroll down page for link to A/RES/67/146]; Press Release, General Assembly, GA/11331, General Assembly Strongly Condemns Widespread, Systematic Human Rights Violations in Syria, as It Adopts 56 Resolutions Recommended by Third Committee (Dec. 20, 2012).