UN: Female Circumcision A 'Violation' That Must End

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UNITED NATIONS — Top U.N. officials are calling for an end to female genital mutilation, saying it violates fundamental human rights and endangers the health of 3 million girls who undergo the practice annually.

Anthony Lake, chief of the U.N. Children's Fund, and Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the U.N. Population Fund, called Monday on countries and organizations worldwide to help end the practice.

The officials say more than 6,000 communities in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Senegal have dropped the practice because of a three-year-old U.N. program.

Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is the removal of external genitalia to limit sexual activity. It can cause prolonged bleeding, infection, infertility and death.

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