Human Exceptionalism

UN to Act Against Female Genital Mutilation

The United Nations General Assembly will soon pass a resolution calling for the banning of female genital mutilation. From the UN press release:

United Nations Member States have approved the first-ever draft resolution aimed at ending the harmful practice of female genital mutilation, in a move hailed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a major step forward in protecting millions of women and girls. The text was approved by consensus on Monday by the General Assembly’s so-called Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, and will be acted on by the Assembly next month. It would have the Assembly urge States to take all measures – including legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation – to both protect women and girls and end impunity for this practice.

I am not one who believes that any UN General Assembly resolution is worth very much. But what can be done here, should be done. The point, indeed the very purpose, of FGM is to oppress women and destroy or impede normal sexual response. It is a brutal act that societies have a compelling interest in preventing because it is a denial of equal human dignity. That should transcend our respect for cultural differences. Some things are intrinsically wrong.

Unbelievably, some are mounting a vigorous defense of the practice–including at the Hastings Center Report.

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