Joint United Nations in Egypt Statement on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Feb 7, 2018

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is one of the harmful practices that young women and girls around the world are subjected to. It is a human rights violation affecting at least 200 million girls and women alive today in the world. FGM/C is deeply rooted in traditions and culture and has lasting negative health consequences, both physical and emotional, on women and girls.

In commemoration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the United Nations in Egypt commends the national efforts to address the issue and commits to continue working jointly with the Egyptian Government towards this objective.  It is urgent we collectively eliminate such harmful practice and more broadly create a safer environment for young women and girls in Egypt. 

The Sustainable Development Goals recognizes that FGM/C undermines progress towards a more equal, just and prosperous world. They set an ambitious target of eliminating all such harmful practices against girls and women by 2030.  Around the world, momentum to eliminate FGM/C female is building. Political will, community engagement and targeted investment are changing practices and lives. The National Women Empowerment Strategy 2030 that clearly identifies FGM/C as a form of violence against women and girls is in line with the momentum.

The United Nations in Egypt recognizes the ongoing efforts of the Government, which has led to the reduction of FGM/C in the younger age groups (15-17 year) by more than 13 percent since 2008.  Moreover, the adoption of a National FGM Strategy 2016-2020 and most importantly the recent decision to amend and stiffen the law criminalizing FGM/C, are critical steps taken to address FGM/C.

It is clear that it is possible for rates of FGM/C to drop significantly when joint efforts are exerted by different parties, including governments, international organizations, local communities and medical professionals to raise awareness about the negative consequences of FGM/C, and when the legislative response is to criminalize such harmful practices. Such efforts would not only help in protecting young women and girls, but it will empower them to have equal opportunities as men, where their voices are equally heard, and their dreams are achieved.

Without accelerated joint progress to protect the growing number of women and girls at risk of this harmful practice, more girls could be subjected to FGM/C by 2030. To make greater progress, the United Nations in Egypt will continue to support all efforts adopted by the Government to scale up and accelerate the implementation of the National FGM Abandonment Strategy towards an Egypt free of FGM.  It is high time to eliminate FGM/C for a better future for Egyptian girls and women.

For more information, please contact:

Fatma Elzahraa Yassin

Communications Analyst 

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