Somalia is the latest country to announce it intends to implement a nationwide ban on female genital cutting (FGC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice that is recognised internationally as a violation of girls and women's human rights.

Following on from Somalia's ban, IBTimes UK spoke with Oliver Chantler, from UK-based charity Orchid Project, on the myths surrounding FGC and the necessity to develop holistic approaches to successfully eradicate this practice worldwide.

What is FGC/ FGM?

Usually carried out for cultural and religious purposes, it involves the alteration and removal of female genitals for non-medical reasons.

Haemorrhage and infection deriving from the practice can cause girls, usually under the age of 15, to die. Long-term consequences include recurrent bladder or urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

FGC is practised in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In May, FGM was banned in Nigeria with a law that also forbids men from abandoning women and children without economic support. The practice has been also outlawed in another 18 African countries, including Benin, Central African Republic, Egypt and South Africa.

The United Nations warned more than 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGC and, if the practice continues, some 86 million additional girls worldwide will be subjected to the practice by 2030.

According to the Orchid Project, FGC can only be eradicated if projects involve all sectors of society, avoiding the risk of discrimination of those who refuse to undergo FGC in a context where the practice is socially accepted by the rest of the community.