UN: UN chief urges more efforts to end female genital mutilation

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Monday said female genital mutilation denies women and girls their dignity and causes needless pain and suffering, with consequences that endure for a lifetime, stressing that the Sustainable Development Agenda promises an end to this practice by 2030.

"On this Day of Zero Tolerance, let us build on positive momentum and commit to intensifying global action against this heinous human rights violation for the sake of all affected women and girls, their communities and our common future," Guterres said in a message to observe the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, marked worldwide on 6 February.

He noted that the day is marked to strengthen momentum towards ending the practice of female genital mutilation, globally recognized as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

The UN chief warned that, "despite a significant decline in the prevalence of the practice, this progress is likely to be offset as the population grows in countries where female genital mutilation is practiced, and without beefed up efforts to eliminate it, more girls will be cut."

Guterres said: "The main reason that FGM continues, as it does in some 30 countries across three continents is out of a desire for social acceptance and to avoid social stigma", adding: "The hidden nature of the support for ending the practice slows down the process of abandonment."

In her message, Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, stated: "The cutting and sewing of a young child's private parts so that she is substantially damaged for the rest of her life, has no sensation during sex except probably pain, and may well face further damage when she gives birth, is to many an obvious and horrifying violation of that child's rights."

"It is a kind of control that lasts a lifetime. It makes a mockery of the idea of any part being truly private and underlines the institutionalized way in which decisions over her own body have been taken from that girl – one of some 200 million currently," she noted.

The theme of the 2017 edition of the International Day is: "Building a solid and interactive bridge between Africa and the world to accelerate ending FGM by 2030."

To raise awareness about the negative impact of FGM, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is holding a Facebook Live programme on Monday, which can be watched live at facebook.com/UNFPA.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 6Feb2017

06 february 2017 14:38:59

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