Relativism: Universal Human Rights Essay

Submitted By nursetlcangel
Words: 1175
Pages: 5

Human Rights supersede cultural relativism!
As an educated civilization we have, an ethical obligation to intervene on behalf of the girls and women subjugated to the cultural practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
This argument against female circumcision (FMG) will show that the women and children who undergo this heinous act of cruelty have no choice in the matter, and are generally uneducated in the complications caused by this ritual practice. This essay will demonstrate that basic human rights are violated by the practice of female genital mutilation (FMG) or Female genital cutting as cultural relativist prefer to coin the term as stated in ( Finally, it will show that even in the societies that practice female genital mutilation there are members who wish to see the ritual practice eradicated.
“Female genital mutilation is an indictment of us all-that a girl or young woman can be held down and mutilated is a violation of her human rights and, shockingly, an estimated three million girls are at risk each year” (Jose Luis Diaz, Amnesty International U.N. representative (Lederer)). The fact that a girl or young woman will be held down against her will in order to perform this surgery is a testament in itself to the fact that there is no choice involved in this operation. According to the World Health Organization, the procedure is nearly always performed on minors ( (Organization)fact sheet N 241). The fact that minors are the majority of recipients of this surgically inept procedure also testifies that they are uneducated about the very serious complications and risks of undergoing such a devasting operation. A young girl between the ages of infancy to approximately fifteen (WHO fact sheet N 241) has no way of knowing that death could be a possible and immediate result of this cultural ritual. No matter what the age of the recipient of female genital mutilation she would have no way of knowing what her future risk of complications would be, furthermore without intervention to teach the women of these practices the serious risk they take largely due to the fact that they live in a patriarchal society. Where male dominate opinions are followed. Moreover, it does not look at the very real physical and psychological risk these women undergo.
The basic rights of humans to health, security and physical integrity are violated by the cultural practice of female genital mutilation, also the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to life when the procedure results in death( (Organization)WHO, fact sheet N 241). When the right to choose female genital mutilation is taken from a young girl, it is also a violation of children’s rights (womenshealth .gov, publication pg. 5).
There are approximately twenty-eight countries in Africa as well as Yemen, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia, and certain ethnic groups in South America that practice female genital mutilation ( (Lederer)). In 1984 after many discussions of African women’s organizations The Inter African Committee Against Harmful Traditional Practices (IAC) was formed (International Family Planning Perspectives, volume 23, #3, September 1997).This committee has been paramount in bringing the harmful effects of female genital mutilation to the attention of African governments. A study of three-hundred polygynous Sudanese men showed that two-hundred and sixty-six of them preferred a wife who had not been genitally cut and infibulated (International Family Planning (Althaus)pg.3).A programme of action was adopted by the international Conference on population and Development in Cairo in 1994. The program refers to female genital mutilation as a basic rights violation and urges the government to prohibit and urgently end the practice wherever it may exist (female circumcision: Rite of Passage or Violation of rights? (Althaus)). The different organizations that have