NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 6 – “Female genital multination irreparably damages girls’ bodies, inflicting excruciating pain. It causes extreme emotional trauma that can last a lifetime. It increases the risk of deadly complications during pregnancy, labour and childbirth, endangering both mother and child. It robs girls of their autonomy and violates their human rights”, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said today, marking the 2017 International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.
Over 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone a procedure which “reflects the low status of girls and women and reinforces gender inequality, fueling intergenerational cycles of discrimination and harm”, the two UN agencies said in a joint statement. They called for faster progress to build on this progress. That means calling on governments to enact and enforce laws and policies that protect the rights of girls and women and prevent FGM/C, providing greater access to counseling services, but ultimately, it means families and communities taking action themselves and refusing to permit their girls to endure this kind of violation”.
Italy has been involved for years in the efforts to end the practice of FGM/C. It has supported a UN General Assembly resolution which has been adopted three times, while being strongly committed domestically in preventing female mutilation and cutting through a law approved in 2006 by the Italian Parliament.
The first substantial resolution at the UN was adopted by consensus in 2012. Last December the General Assembly adopted, by consensus, the third resolution on the issue, submitted by Gambia, on behalf of the African Group (Burkina Faso being the facilitator in the negotiations) and co-sponsored by 133 countries (125 in 2014). The text included broad passages proposed by Italy, as facilitator on behalf of the European Union, during negotiations.
With approximately 20 million euros between 2014 and 2015, Italy is also one of the major donors committed to the ban of female genital mutilation. In 2004, Italy funded a UNICEF trust fund which gave rise to the multilateral action which set up collaboration between UNICEF and the UNFPA and the “Female Genital Mutilation Cutting: accelerating change” joint programme, including action to be implemented in 17 African countries. Italy has been part of the Steering Committee of the fund since it was started, promoting the same action and contributing to the fund every year.
Other projects in include:
The BanFGM Initiative: for the eradication of Female Genital Mutilation promoted by the NPWJ in French-speaking African countries, and co-funded, in 2014, with a 1.5 million euros contribution to support the political, institutional and legal framework in the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
Djibouti- “Supporting Female Health Programmes in Djibouti” – more than 2 million euros in cooperation with the National Institute for Health, Migrations and Poverty (since 2010).
Sudan – “Funding to UNFPA for reproductive health services and response to violence against women by enhancing institutional capabilities, the mobilisation of communities and the reduction of the stigma among refugees and the hosting communities of Eastern Sudan”, for 600,000 euros (since 2015).
Ethiopia – Funding to UNFPA for “Protection and eradication of Traditional Harmful Practices (HTPs) in the Afar region, for 600,000 euros (programmed in 2016 and now being studied). (@OnuItalia)