|AAP Press Release|
April 26, 2010
WOMAN OF PARADISE DEMANDS THAT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS (AAP) REVOKES ELEMENTS OF ITS 2010 POLICY STATEMENT THAT ENDORSES “NICKING” OF GIRLS’ GENITALIA BY PAEDETRICIANS IN THE USA.
Little Rock, Arkansas – Woman of Paradise an International human rights organization, is shocked by a new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors,” issued by the AAP on April 26, 2010. The policy creates an enabling environment for female genital mutilation (FGM) as well as giving “federal and state laws the ability to reach out to families by offering a ‘ritual nick’,” such as pricking or minor incisions of girls’ clitorises. The policy is completely destroying the efforts of parents and communities that amount to many years of hard work to eliminate this cultural practice and encourages a culture where the lives of young girls that have been lost globally will eventually be forgotten.
According to the World Health Organization Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by health care providers. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually. The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later, potential childbirth complications and newborn deaths. It is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15 years.
FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
The AAP’s 1998 policy statement does not endorse any kind of mutilation i.e. “ritual nicks” as stated in the new policy and we are concerned about the changes that completely deviate from protecting children. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) announced the introduction of new bipartisan legislation, The Girls Protection Act (H.R. 5137), a federal law prohibiting FGM by making it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the U.S. out of the country for the purpose of FGM on April 26th 2010 . We feel that the AAP’s policy document is a complete contrast to the fact that the law treats FGM with zero tolerance.
Woman of Paradise opposes all forms of FGM and is already experiencing the ripple effect of the AAP’s Policy document. More girls are dying in Kenya because now FGM is being perceived as a globally acceptable rite of passage. Our policy on FGM is a zero tolerance language that we believe is the only way to change the minds of the people that culturally accept the practice. We speak as African women who have first hand information about this cultural practice.
Every generation is charged with the responsibility to leave this world better than we found it, there are no African or American problems, we are in the global village and human beings are interconnected. The problems we ignore today will always be postponed to future generations in a full blown uncontrollable situation. In china the culture of “foot binding” was completely eliminated in our generation because every generation did its part in advocacy and supporting organizations that helped eliminate that culture.