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Saturday, December 9, 2023
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 6 2013 (IPS) - There has been a decline in the life-threatening practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), according to the latest figures released by the United Nations.
The data shows that FGM/C is becoming less prevalent overall and the younger generation is less vulnerable to the practice”,” the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said in a joint statement released Wednesday: the International Day of Zero Tolerance on FGM/C.
In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where the practice of FGM/C is concentrated, on average, 36 per cent of girls aged 15-19 have been cut compared to an estimated 53 per cent of women aged 45-49.
The decline is particularly sharp in some countries: in Kenya, for example, women aged 45-49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19.
“This progress shows it is possible to end FGM/C” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “FGM/C is not only deeply wrong, we can and must end it to help millions of girls and women lead healthier lives.”
These recent estimates produced by UNICEF show that at least 120 million girls and women have experienced FGM/C in these 29 countries. Given present trends, as many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 may still be at risk.
The UNFPA/UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM is currently making progress in preventing girls and future generations from being exposed to FGM.
In December 2012, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on all 193 member states to intensify efforts to completely eliminate FGM/C..
Nearly 10,000 communities in 15 countries, representing about 8 million people, would have renounced the practice since the beginning of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM in 2008. Following these new trends, attitudes toward the practice are deeply evolving such as in Egypt.
“Empowered women and girls are key to breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and for the promotion and protection of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.
“Working with governments and civil societies, UNFPA and UNICEF have successfully implemented a human rights-based and culturally sensitive approach to ending FGM,” he added.
The General Assembly resolution is seen as a unique opportunity to tackle FGM which constitute a serious violation of the rights of girls and women. The long-awaited goal is to eradicate FGM in order to promote positive social change at any levels.
“There is no justification for causing harm to a child. Female genital mutilation is a violation of the fundamental rights of girls that threatens their health and future opportunities, including giving birth later in life,” concluded the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, Jacqueline Badcock.
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