A total of 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation, a news agency cited the UN report as saying. The practice, which involves cutting away a part or all of a girl's external genitalia, has been recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

Support for the practice, which causes severe pain and brings no short or long-term health benefit, has been in decline, the report noted. It also found that a large number of boys and men are also against the practice in some countries where genital mutilation persists. However, lack of open discussion of the sensitive issue has left millions of girls at the risk of being cut in future.

"What is clear from this report is that legislation alone is not enough. The challenge now is to let girls and women, boys and men speak out loudly and clearly and announce they want this harmful practice abandoned," said Unicef Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta.

The report said that such practices remain almost universal in Somalia, Guinea, Djibouti and Egypt, with over 90 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 being cut. In countries such as Chad, Gambia, Mali, Senegal, Sudan, or Yemen, there has been no noticeable decline.


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