Female genital cutting (FGC) is known to occur within some South and East Asian countries. Except in Indonesia, there are no national FGC prevalence statistics available across Asia. There are, however, numerous studies and reports from across the continent demonstrating that the practice occurs in various different settings.
In Indonesia, UNICEF reports that 49% of girls 0-14 have been cut. Between 2015 and 2030, a further 15 million girls in Indonesia will have been cut if we do not act to end the practice.
FGC is also known to occur within communities in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
There is a growing movement of campaigners and organisations bringing attention to the issue of FGC in Asian communities. Grassroots groups and local NGOs such as Sahiyo in India and Kalyanamitra in Indonesia are working within communities and advocating for an end to the practice.
Similar to other parts of the world where the practice is prevalent, FGC in Asia is a deeply entrenched social norm that is linked to cultural notions of femininity. It is largely practised as a way of controlling female sexuality and is often linked to religion, despite it not being a religious obligation.
Increasingly, medicalisation presents a challenge to progress. When cutting is offered as a procedure in clinics and hospitals, it legitimises the practice despite it being dangerous and harmful in all contexts. In countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, FGC is thought to be regularly carried out in medical settings.
Lack of research and data on FGC across the Asian continent continues to present a challenge, as the scale of the issue is unknown.Find out more via our country profiles.
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At least 4.1 million girls around the world are currently at risk of being cut every year.
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