SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Multilation (FGM): Safeguarding the Rights of Migrant Women and Girls

Today, the world observes the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Multilation (FGM), a practice which is internationally recognized as a human rights violation, given its severe consequences on the health, well-being, and dignity of women and girls. While FGM is a global issue, it is crucial to understand its intersectionality with migration in order to address the unique challenges it poses to the rights and safety of women on the move. 

FGM is prevalent in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and beyond. In the African context, FGM remains a deeply entrenched cultural practice in many communities across the continent. While there have been efforts to combat this issue, migrant women and girls continue to face risks of undergoing the procedure or experiencing its consequences during their journeys and resettlement. 

Migration exposes women to heightened vulnerabilities. The practice of FGM persists among migrant communities as a way of preserving cultural identity, perpetuating harmful gender norms, or exerting control over women's bodies. Migrant women and girls may additionally lack access to adequate healthcare and support services, compounding the challenges they face in addressing the physical and psychological effects of FGM.

This year’s them for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM is “Her voice. Her Future.” It is one that puts focus on the importance of amplifying the voices of survivors and empowering women and girls to lead efforts to end FGM. It is essential to recognize the agency and resilience of those affected by FGM, and stand in solidarity with survivor-led movements advocating for change.

Ending FGM is not only a matter of safeguarding individual health and rights but also a critical component of ensuring gender equality and social justice in the context of migration. As we work towards a future where all individuals can exercise their rights and live free from violence and discrimination, addressing the root causes of FGM and supporting survivors must be central to our efforts.

On this International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, let us reaffirm our commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of migrant women and girls in Africa and around the world. Through collaborative action, policy advocacy, and community engagement, we can strive towards a future where FGM is eradicated, and all individuals are empowered to live fulfilling lives, free from harm and prejudice.


International Organization for Migration (IOM). (2008) Supporting the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation in the Context of Migration. Available online:

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (2021) Joint Evaluation of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change Phase III (2018-2021). Available online:

National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2018) The Impact of Migration on Attitudes to Female Genital Cutting and Experiences of Sexual Dysfunction Among Migrant Women with FGC. Available online:

United Nations (UN). (2024) International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, 6 February. Available online:,the%20elimination%20of%20this%20practice.



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