Policy statement: Female genital mutilation

Policy type
Policy categories

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) opposes all forms of female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a fundamental violation of girls’ and women’s rights, including the right to life, the right to physical integrity and the right to health. In the absence of any medical necessity, FGM subjects girls and women to health risks and has life-threatening consequences. Further, it contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and violates the fundamental ethical principle of “do no harm”. 1, 2 WCPT advocates that physical therapists should be aware that this practice has serious physical and mental health consequences.

FGM, often referred to as “female circumcision”, comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons. WCPT recognises that change in this practice may require time and great sensitivity to culturally accepted norms, but that every effort should be made to protect girls and women from FGM and to educate and modify behaviour to bring about its elimination.

The World Health Organization (WHO), together with a wide range of international organisations including WCPT, maintain the view that there is no justification for FGM. 1

WCPT recognises the important role that the International Organisation of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health has played in raising awareness of this issue. WCPT offers its full support to its position statement on FGM. 3 

 

Further, WCPT supports:

  • the global strategy to stop health providers from performing female genital mutilation4
  • the joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA policy statement on FGM that promotes policy development and action at the global, regional and national levels4
  • the Cairo Declaration for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation5
  • the World Medical Association Statement on FGM and its Resolution on Violence Against Women and Children6, 7
  • the International Confederation of Midwives Statement on Female Genital Mutilation8
  • the Stop FGM Campaign9

WCPT urges all member organisations to join national and international efforts to oppose and eliminate this practice and believes that only through international collaboration will efforts to eliminate FGM be realised.

 

Approval, review and related policy information
Date adopted:

Approved at the 16th General Meeting of WCPT June 2007.

Revised and re-approved at the 17th General Meeting of WCPT June 2011.

Re-affirmed at the 18th General Meeting of WCPT May 2015.

Date for review: 2015
Related WCPT Policies:

WCPT policy statements:

  • Torture
  • Ethical responsibilities of physical therapists and WCPT members

WCPT endorsements:

  • UN Convention on the Rights of the child

UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

References
  1. UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, et al. Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing female genital mutilation. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2010. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2010/WHO_RHR_10.9_eng.pdf (23rd November 2010)
  2. United Nations. Convention on the Rights of the Child. New York, USA: United Nations; 1989. http://www.unicef.org/crc/ (17th November 2010)
  3. International Organisation of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health. Position Statement on Female Genital Mutilation.: IOPTWH; 2006. http://www.ioptwh.org/pdfs/IOPTWH%20FGM%20Statement.pdf (23rd November 2010)
  4. World Health Organization. Female genital mutilation. A Joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA Statement. Geneva, Switzerland; 1997. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/41903/1/9241561866.pdf (Access date 10th March 2017)
  5. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood. Cairo Declaration for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation: Within the framework of Stop FGM Campaign - Afro-Arab expert consultation legal tools for the prevention of female genital mutilation. Cairo, Egypt: The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood; 2003. http://www.childinfo.org/files/fgmc_Cairodeclaration.pdf (23rd November 2010)
  6. World Medical Association. WMA Statement on Female Genital Mutilation. Ferney-Voltaire, France: WMA; 2005. http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/c10/index.html (23rd November 2010)
  7. World Medical Association. World Medical Association (WMA) Resolution on Violence against Women and Girls Adopted by the WMA General Assembly, Vancouver, Canada, October 2010. Ferney-Voltaire, France: WMA; 2010. http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/v3/index.html (23rd November 2010)
  8. International Confederation for Midwives. Position Statement on Female Genital Mutilation. the Hague, the Netherlands: ICM; 2005. http://www.internationalmidwives.org/Portals/5/2010/Position%20Statements%202010/13.%20Female%20genital%20mutilation.pdf (23rd November 2010)

© World Confederation for Physical Therapy 2017