World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Urges Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

On International Day, UN Officials Urge Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

New York, Feb 6 2014 - United Nations officials today called for a complete end to genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) to ensure the dignity, health and well-being of every girl, noting that despite a century of efforts, millions of girls worldwide are still threatened by the horrible practice.

In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, more than 125 million girls and women have been cut, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The agency projects that a further 86 million young girls worldwide are likely to experience some form of the practice by 2030, if current trends continue.

“It is unacceptable that these human rights violations continue to threaten the lives and futures of so many women and girls,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in a statement to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

“It is an affront to their human dignity, an assault on their health and an impediment to the well-being of their families, communities and countries. Human development cannot be fully achieved as long as women and girls continue to suffer from this human rights violation or live in fear of it,” he stated.

Dr. Osotimehin noted that there have been successes in accelerating the abandonment of FGM/C – which refers to a number of practices which involve cutting away part or all of a girl’s external genitalia – in some communities and countries. For example, Uganda, Kenya and Guinea-Bissau have recently adopted laws criminalizing the practice.

In Ethiopia, a traditional cutter and the parents of six girls were penalized in a highly publicized case that helped raise awareness about the issue. A number of other countries have adopted culturally sensitive programmes aimed at changing social norms, often by engaging community elders, men and boys.

“But the challenge of eliminating female genital mutilation/cutting everywhere remains enormous and we must step up our efforts,” the Executive Director stressed.

“In the 21st century, no woman or girl should suffer or die due to FGM/C. Addressing the persistent inequalities that negatively affect women’s and girl’s health and well-being is our unfinished business.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for the Day, highlighted the need to “strive to preserve the best in any culture, and leave harm behind,” in a reference to this year’s theme for the Day. There is no developmental, religious or health reason to cut or mutilate any girl or woman, he noted.

“Although some would argue that this is a ‘tradition’, we must recall that slavery, so-called honour killings and other inhumane practices have been defended with the same weak argument,” he said. “Just because a harmful practice has long existed does not justify its continuation. All ‘traditions’ that demean, dehumanize and injure are human rights violations that must be actively opposed until they are ended.”

He pointed to “positive signs of progress” in the global push to end this harmful practice. Girls themselves instinctively understand the dangers of being cut, and many mothers who have seen or experienced the trauma want to shield their daughters from suffering. It is encouraging, he said, that an increasing number of communities are coming together and agreeing publically to end female genital mutilation and ensure a better life for their girls.

The UN and its partners, Mr. Ban added, are engaged in valuable, culturally-sensitive activities that aim to stop female genital mutilation without scolding or shame. In addition to prevention, the UN is working with partners to help those who have been affected by FGM.

He recalled that the General Assembly’s landmark resolution proclaiming the Day was sponsored by every country in Africa and embraced by the entire membership of the UN.

“Now our challenge is to give real meaning to this Day by using it to generate public support, trigger legal and practical advances, and help girls and women at risk of or affected by female genital mutilation,” he said. “The effect on individuals will be profound, sparing them pain and spurring their success. The benefits will reverberate across society as these girls and women thrive and contribute to a better future for all.”

The President of the General Assembly, John Ashe, used his message for the Day to call on governments, civil society organizations, religious leaders and community groups to work together to encourage progress towards change and to promote an end to a practice that harms so many girls and women.

“As with all deeply-entrenched practices, achieving the end of FGM will take action at every societal level. Condemnation and laws and policies banning the practice are important, but will not be enough,” he said.

“The need for governments, religious leaders, health workers, countries hosting practicing migrant communities, and grass roots organizations to join forces to end FGM in one generation is now more urgent than ever.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

West Papua: “Lest We Forget”

AS Anzac approaches and Australians and New Zealanders remember those who fought and lost their lives on Anzac Day, it is hoped we will also remember the unfree people of the Pacific region and in particular those who are still suffering from human ... More>>

Iran: 81 Executions In One Week

Coincident with mass executions in the prisons of Ghezel-Hessar, Karaj and other cities, the anti-human regime of mullahs sent 16 other prisoners to the gallows in Mashhad and Birjand (northeastern Iran). Twelve of them were hanged collectively ... More>>

Al-Shabaab: Four Unicef Staff Killed In Somalia

Four UNICEF staff members have been killed in an attack on their vehicle in Garowe, Somalia. Four other UNICEF colleagues are in a serious condition. The IED (improvised explosive device) attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest ... More>>

UN: Suicide Attack In Jalalabad Condemned

NEW YORK/KABUL/GENEVA (18April 2015) – “I strongly condemn the brutal suicide attack that coincided with my visit to Jalalabad today,” said United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović during his visit to Afghanistan. ... More>>

Save The Children: STC Urges EU Leaders To Act To Prevent More Mass Drownings

Save the Children Urges EU Leaders to Act to Prevent More Mass Drownings at Sea. More>>

ALSO:

Japan: Independent Experts Slam Japan’s New Whaling Plan

Independent experts slam Japan’s new whaling plan and declare no more whales need to be killed for Antarctic research More>>

Gaza Strip: Attacks In The Border Areas

Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by ... More>>

Australian Government: Iraq Deployment: Joint Press Conference, Canberra

Back in March, the Government announced that we were preparing a force for a Building Partner Capacity training mission in Iraq. I can inform you that today the Cabinet has decided to deploy that force. The deployment will start tomorrow and we expect ... More>>

UNHRC: UN Committee Against Torture To Review New Zealand

UN Committee against torture to review New Zealand, Congo, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Serbia, Colombia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia More>>

UNHRC: Nigeria: One Year On, Call To Bring Back Abducted Children

Nigeria: One year on, UN and African experts call for decisive steps to bring back abducted children More>>

EU & US Let Iran Win Top Seat On UN Women’s Rights Board

EU & US Allowed Iran to Win Top Seat on UN Women’s Rights Board, Rights Group Says More>>

Peaceful Tree Planting Attacked By Zionist Settlers/soldiers

Peaceful tree planting attacked by zionist settlers and soldiers, two Palestinians hospitalised and a German activist arrested. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news