The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new report to help medical practitioners engage in a human-rights-based approach toward managing and treating health complications associated with or caused by female genital mutilation (FGM). See World Health Organization, WHO Guidelines on the Management of Health Complications from Female Genital Mutilation (2016). The guidelines identify the human rights implications of FGM, including on the right to the attainment of the highest standard of health. See id. at 5. Recognizing that an estimated 200 million women worldwide have undergone FGM and citing a lack of awareness of its negative health consequences by the international medical community, the guidelines provide recommendations on methods for treating the negative health impacts of FGM and address best practices for avoiding further human rights violations in those treatments.
With this report, the WHO highlights the important role of trained health professionals in mitigating and remedying violations of international human rights standards that result from FGM and in guaranteeing the protection of the right to health, which includes providing adequate health care services to victims of human rights abuses. See id. 7. The report, therefore, seeks to establish standards to be used by the international medical community to ensure that efforts to eradicate the practice, particularly the elimination of the performance of FGM by medical practitioners, and to provide care for women living with FGM are carried out with consideration for women’s human rights at their core. See id. at viii. Read more