The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday described the practice of female genital mutilation as a "human rights violation" that needed to end, on the day the Guardian threw its weight behind a campaign against the practice in the US.

Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old American who was mutilated as a child, is leading the campaign to end FGM in the US with a Change.org petition urging the Obama administration to commission a report into how many women are affected and at risk today.

Dukureh launched the campaign at the Guardian's New York office with UN representative Nafissatou Diop, US congressman Joe Crowley and Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.

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