The BBC has reported a top UN official in Iraq has said the Sunni Islamist group ISIS controlling the city of Mosul is seeking to impose female genital mutilation.
All females aged 11 and 46 in the northern city must undergo the procedure, according to an Isis edict, UN official Jacqueline Badcock said.
She said the unprecedented decree was of grave concern.
Some bloggers suggest that the edict, or fatwa, may be a fabrication aimed at discrediting Isis.
Iraq is facing a radical Isis-led insurgency, with Mosul and other cities in the north-west under militant control.
The ritual cutting of girls’ genitals is practiced by some African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities in the belief it prepares them for adulthood or marriage.
FGM poses many health risks to women, including severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth.
The UN General Assembly approved a resolution in December 2012 calling for all member states to ban the practice.
The Isis edict could affect nearly four million women and girls in and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the UN warns.
Ms Badcock, the UN’s resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said the practice “is something very new for Iraq… and does need to be addressed”.
She was talking to reporters via video link from the Kurdish provincial capital of Irbil.
Read the full BBC report here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28466434
This development shows the profound effect that political and military changes can have on the rights and lives of ordinary citizens. History shows that citizens often underestimate the effect on their lives, that political changes will cause.