Country: Indonesia

Population: 253.6 million

Estimated prevalence:

49% of girls ages 11 and under have undergone FGC.

77% underwent the procedure when they were less than six months old and over half were cut by a trained medical professional.

Type practised:

Type I (commonly referred to as clitoridectomy) and less invasive procedures (Type IV) are the two forms generally practised in the country.

A field study by Islamic Relief Canada found that there is reported evidence Type II and Type III still being performed in Madura and in some rural locations. In addition, the lack of knowledge and awareness on how to perform FGC could result in Type II and Type III FGC being performed – without the knowledge of the cutter, girl or parents.

Legal status:

In 2006, the Ministry of Health issued a circular letter prohibiting FGC by medical professionals. In 2008, a fatwa issued by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) recommended that female Muslims undergo FGC and that the practice be provided by medical professionals if requested. In 2010, the Indonesian Health Ministry overturned the previous ban, issuing a regulation specifying how medical staff should perform FGC and as a consequence every hospital continued to perform FGC. This was met with an outcry from medical experts and human rights groups, who raised concerns that medicalisation doesn’t address the potentially traumatic effects of FGC and that its promotion will result in an increase in the practice. In 2014, the Health Ministry released another regulation which revoked the prior stance but this did not expressly prohibit FGC.

History of FGC in Indonesia:

There is little literature about how FGC spread to this area.

The government included FGC as a gender issue in its National Action Plan to End Violence against Women, published in November 2000. This plan commits the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Ministry of Religion to conduct research on religious teachings that impede women’s rights.

A field study by Islamic Relief Canada found that cutting used to be practised at a later age in the recent past.

Current efforts to abandon FGC:

Indonesian groups called for a revocation of the guidelines on the grounds that the harm-mitigating FGC regulations may be mistaken as endorsement of the practice. Many groups, including Amnesty International and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), protested against this regulation on the grounds that it violates child protection laws.

Kalyanamitra, Convention Watch and the Indonesian Women’s Coalition for Justice and Democracy (IWCJD) are currently working to address issues relating to FGC. The Convention Watch working group has voiced interest in researching the prevalence and types of FGC that occur in Indonesia. They are keen to extend the University of Indonesia’s 1998 study to other regions, including Madura Island, West Sumatra and South Sulawesi.

Ongoing challenges:

Hospitals continue to offer ‘sunat perempuan’ (FGC) for baby girls, often as part of a discount birth package that includes vaccinations and ear piercings. April 2006 usually marks the annual mass ceremony to perform sunat perempuan, and has been held annually since 1958. It is organised by the Bandung-based Yayasan Assalaam. The foundation pays parents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daughter they bring to be cut.

A field study by Islamic Relief Canada found that FGC is seen as an Islamic act and is performed in the expectations of ‘becoming a complete Muslim’; to enhance sexual relations as part of the intimacy of marriage; control sexual behaviour and ensure clean and healthy genitals. This position is strengthened by the ruling (fatwa) issued by the MUI and other endorsements by religious leaders and institutions.

A field study by Islamic Relief Canada found reports of women over the age of 40 being circumcised – which, when compared to the past, may indicate a pressure to conform to a newly-perceived religious orthodoxy.


Bahasa Indonesia (official)



Local Indonesian dialects (Javanese most widely spoken).

Major religions:

Muslim 86.1%

Christian 8.7%

Hindu 1.8%

In the news:

Magdalene - Recent study reveals new data on FGC prevalence and current attitudes towards the practice in Indonesia

Rappler - New study reveals why FGC is a widespread practice in Indonesia

The Conversation - FGC Offered by birthing clinics as part of delivery process

The Australian - Extent of FGC prevalence throughout Indonesia has only just become known

ABC - Indonesia one of the top offenders of FGC, UNICEF

UNFPA - Indonesian women starting to speak out against FGC, but more discussion needed

Women's News - Young men charge to fight for women's rights

FIGO - Most severe forms of FGC on the decline

The Jakarta Post - Calls mount for government to retract support for FGC

Bangkok Post - Australian charge over FGC of baby

The Jakarta Post - Your letters: Stop practice of FGC

Thomson Reuters Foundation - UN pressures Indonesia to stop health workers performing FGC

Jakarta Globe - Indonesia ignores UN ban on FGC, denies accusations of practice

Bangkok Post - Indonesia denies FGC traditions

TrustLaw - Activists press Indonesia to ban FGC

WA Today - Australian parents who intended to take daughter to Bali for FGC procedure appear in court, charged with FGC offences

The Jakarta Post - Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) bucking UN campaign to ban female genital cutting, demand government keep practice legal

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