NORWAY: Norway Grants NOK 20 Million Against Sex Mutilation

International Development Minister Erik Solheim (photo)has announced that Norway will contribute NOK 20 million (appr. USD 3,5 million) to a UN fund to protect girls against genital mutilation in 16 countries.

This contribution to the UN fund entails a doubling of Norway’s international efforts to fight female genital mutiliation.

The fund has recently been established by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“Female genital mutilation is a brutal violation of women’s and children’s fundamental human rights. According to the World Health Organization, some 6 000 girls are circumcised a day. Fighting this practice will strengthen the position of women and girls, improve maternal health and reduce child mortality,” Mr Solheim says.

Through its support to the fund, Norway will contribute to dialogue with local and national authorities and religious leaders, to mobilisation of the media, and to local activities, research and capacity-building.

“Legal protection against female genital mutilation is important, but experience shows that this alone is not enough. Dialogue on this issue needs to be encouraged in local communities, with a view to changing attitudes, and eventually traditions. A significant part of our international work will therefore continue to be channelled through local organisations,” Mr Solheim said.

“The latest report from Norad (The Norwegian Agency for Development) shows that these efforts are working. The number of girls circumcised has fallen in Tanzania and Kenya, and to some extent also in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Our international efforts will also help to reduce this practice in Norway,” Mr Solheim added.

However he pointed out that according to WHO, sexual mutilation is still performed on around 6,000 girls a day.

SOURCE: The Norway Post

AUTHOR: Rolleiv Solholm

URL: Click here

DATE: 16/08/2007

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