Public Defender of Georgia has confirmed that the practise of female genital mutilation is being used in ethnic Avar communities in Kvareli.
They condemned the practise as a most radical form of human rights violation. FGM is mostly carried out at home, and the Ombudsman has noted that the procedure of cutting the tip of the clitoris off, carries many serious risks, adding that:
“Unfortunately society doesn’t have enough information about the complexities and risks of this practice, they also don’t know why such a practice exists and what it’s purpose is, as it’s mostly connected with religious traditions.”
The Ombudsman has encouraged the government to take all necessary measures to put a stop to the practise. The Ombudsman has already passed information on to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) reported that hundreds of girls from Georgia’s ethnic Avar community have been forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM).
The Georgian Authorities told the IWPR that they were unaware that the practise of cutting was being carried out in the Kvareli district of Kakheti, which has a large muslim Avar population.
An Avar woman quoted in the report said, “We are Muslims. We fast during Ramadan. We observe our Islamic customs. Circumcision is also our custom. We cannot do without it,”
FGM, also known as female circumcision, has been condemned by the director of the National Centre for Disease control as carrying numerous health risks including infection, hepatitis and tetanus.