FGM is generally performed by a traditional practitioner who comes from a family in which generations of women have performed the procedure. It is commonly performed without any form of anesthesia or analgesia. For this procedure non-sterile instruments, including scissors, razor blades or broken glass are used. FGM is also performed by different practices such as cutting, pricking, removing and sometimes sewing up external female genitalia and it is not justified by any medical reasons.
The reasons why female genital mutilations are performed vary from one region to another as well as over time, and include a mix of sociocultural factors.
The first document to be adopted by an inter-governmental organization was the UN Declaration for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which has been ratified by the General Assembly on 20 December 1993 and which characterizes FGM as a form of violence.