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ETHIOPIA: FGM Declaration Call on Religious and Traditional Leaders to Educate Members

Participants at the Global Consultation on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) have called on religious and traditional leaders to dispel continuing myths and misconceptions within cultures and religious communities that are used to justify continuation of FGM/C.

In a declaration adopted at the end of a five-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the participants urged the religious and traditional leaders to educate their constituencies on the rights of women and girls to bodily integrity, and a healthy life as well as the enjoyment of their sexuality.

They should widely spread the ban by all religions of any form of FGM/C, and promote gender equality.

Between 100 and 140 million women and girls have been subjected to this practice across the world, predominantly in 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East and also among immigrant communities in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand as well as in some communities in India, Indonesia, Iraq and Malaysia. FGM/C infringes on the rights of women and girls to reproductive health and bodily integrity and subjects them to torturous and degrading practices.

The meeting, convened by UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund, brought together over 70 participants from UN agencies, faith-based and non-governmental organizations, law enforcement agencies, donors, governments and research institutions, who discussed strategies and laid the groundwork for a road map for eliminating FGM/C within a generation.

The participants expressed concern at the slow pace of progress and urged governments, to enact and enforce laws banning any form of FGM/C, including when performed by health providers; to provide adequate resources to scale up FGM/C elimination programmes as part of effective gender equality and women’s empowerment policies and programmes; and to build the national capacity of law enforcement agents and health providers on counselling and treatment.

SOURCE: Modern Ghana

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DATE: 07/08/2007

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