During the worldwide COVID-19 lockdown, activists in some countries made historic gains in the fight to stop the practice of female genital mutilation, or FGM, which involves removing a girl’s clitoris.
FGM is condemned by the World Health Organization as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which is practiced in at least 27 African countries and parts of Asia and the Middle East.
Sudan — a country with one of the world’s highest rates of FGM — criminalized the act. In Russia, a gynecologist who performed an FGM operation is being tried in court in one of the first cases of its kind there.
But other countries, such as Somalia, saw increases in the practice during pandemic-induced lockdowns.
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