09.02.2008 General News

UNFPA calls on governments to end female genital mutilation

By Accra Mail
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The Executive Director of UNFPA, Ms. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid has called for stronger commitment from governments to end female genital mutilation and cutting to protect the rights of women and girls.

She said nations' leaders should take action to end female genital mutilation in line with the United Nations Resolution adopted last year.
She noted that an estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls worldwide had undergone the practice and 3 million more girls were at risk each year and that many were traumatized by the experience and suffer in silence, afraid of being excluded from their communities.

Ms Obaid said these in her message to mark the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting, which falls on February 6 of every year.

She said the resolution adopted last year reiterated that female genital mutilation violated the rights of women and girls. Governments that attended the meeting said the practice constituted an irreparable, irreversible abuse.

They cited mounting medical evidence that female genital mutilation posed a serious threat to the health of women and girls, increasing their vulnerability to HIV, raising the risk of maternal and infant mortality, and harming their psychological and sexual and reproductive health.

Ms Obaid said, “in line with the resolution, UNFPA calls on governments to develop effective policies for the elimination of female genital mutilation and national and community leaders should support the development of prevention and educational programmes, which take into account local beliefs and realities.

She pledged UNFPA's increased support for efforts to end female genital mutilation and cutting and to end the harmful practice in one generation in 17 high-prevalence countries.

“At UNFPA, we remain committed to women's empowerment and gender equality and the right to sexual and reproductive health”, she added.

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