3 Million Women Circumcised Annually - UNFPA Protests

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) last week made a stong call to government to end female genital mutilation (cutting), a practise which causes an irreparable, irreversible damage to women.

A statement from UNFPA urged world leaders to take action to end female genital mutilation in line with the United Nations resolution adopted in 2007 in which governments reiterated that female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls.

"They cited mounting medical evidence that female genital mutilation poses 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," said the statement in part. The call was made in commemoration of the international day against female genital mutilation.

Despite these findings, an estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone the practice and 3 million more girls are at risk each year.

Many women and girls are traumatized by the experience and suffer in silence, afraid of being excluded from their communities.

In line with the UN resolution, UNFPA called on governments to develop effective policies for the elimination of female genital mutilation.

"We urge all decision makers, at all levels, to play leadership roles in eliminating female genital mutilation. We call on national and community leaders to support the development of prevention and educational programmes, which take into account local beliefs and realities," said the statement.

Intensified efforts are urgently needed to stop the practice in all its forms. UNFPA pledges to increase support for efforts to end female genital mutilation/cutting. UNFPA also urged governments and other partners to contribute to the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme and trust fund 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. UNFPA supports governments to enable planning by utilising population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty.

Opened in 1969, the UNFPA Uganda country office runs a country programme that focuses on reproductive health and adolescent health.


AUTHOR: David Mugabe

URL: Click here

DATE: 21/02/2008

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