UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that without accelerated action 68 million girls could be subjected to female genital mutilation by 2030.
He said in a statement on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation that the practice is "a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls."
His statement Tuesday says over 200 million women and girls in 30 countries across three continents have experienced genital mutilation.
The UN Population Fund projects that the estimated 3.9 million girls subjected to genital cutting every year will rise to 4.6 million by 2030 due to expected population growth unless urgent action is taken.
Agency Executive Director Natalia Kanem urged greater political will, community engagement and spending to reach the UN goal of ending the practice by 2030.