JAKARTA (TrustLaw) - The secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Tuesday urged countries to abolish female genital mutilation (FGM), saying the practice was against Islam and human rights.
"This practice is a ritual that has survived over centuries and must be stopped as Islam does not support it," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said, at the opening of the intergovernmental organisation's 4th conference on the role of women in development, in Indonesia's capital Jakarta.
Ihsanoglu said female genital mutilation is "a hazardous practice that endangers the physical and psychological health of girls and women," and called on OIC member countries to take measures, including passing legislation, to prohibit it.
"Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights of girls and women," he said.
UN Women’s Executive Director Michelle Bachelet agreed with Ihsanoglu. At a press conference, she said there is an "international consensus that female genital mutilation is not acceptable."
"There's no base on any religion (and) no religious text supports something like that," she said.
"Having said that, in many places FGM is a social norm, so it's important not only to have laws, but it's also important to work with community leaders, with religious leaders and the mothers of the children... to try to change a social norm that is harming girls," she added.
Female genital mutilation in Indonesia came under the spotlight recently after a journalist wrote an article in a British newspaper last month recounting a ceremony in 2006, in which 248 girls were circumcised in a village in the city of Bandung in West Java.
Indonesian Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi has said that female circumcision, as the practice is called in the country, was largely symbolic and did not constitute genital mutilation.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.