WASHINGTON, D.C.—Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List has made international headlines for the annual ranking of 50 countries around the world with the most extreme levels of Christian persecution.
But some of these countries, unfortunately and disturbingly, have ties to another atrocity—female genital mutilation (FGM).
- Somalia (No. 1 for FGM with up to 98 percent of girls affected, and No. 3 on Open Doors World Watch List for Christian Persecution)
- Egypt (No. 4 for FGM / 91 percent of girls / No. 16 on World Watch List)
- Eritrea (No. 5 for FGM / 89 percent of girls / No. 7 on World Watch List)
- Mali (No. 6 for FGM / 89 percent of girls / No. 24 on World Watch List)
- Sudan (No. 8 for FGM / 88 percent of girls / No. 6 on World Watch List)
- Ethiopia (No. 11 for FGM / 74 percent of girls / No. 28 on World Watch List)
EndFGMToday leader, international attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore said advocates also know of the practice being carried out in Pakistan (No. 5 on World Watch List) and India (No. 10 on World Watch List).
“Sadly, some of these results are not surprising,” Yore said. “If a country is known for persecuting Christians and those of other faiths, it may also persecute its own people in one way or another, and namely, persecute its little girls through the unnecessary procedure of female genital mutilation that leaves both physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. Ironically, perpetrators and those who permit FGM do so in the name of religion.”
Here in the U.S., 22 states do not have legal protections in place for women and girls who are at risk for FGM. State laws are even more crucial now, Yore said, as the federal law criminalizing female genital mutilation was ruled unconstitutional by a district judge in late 2018.
Yore also noted that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than a half million girls and woman in the U.S. are at risk for female genital mutilation. FGM is also recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women, and over 200 millionwomen worldwide have been subjected to FGM.
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