|© UNICEF Egypt 2005|
|Olympic athlete and FGM activist Tegla Loroupe of Kenya addresses FGM Roundtable.|
Cairo, November 24, 2005 – International experts, human rights activists, NGOs and young delegates gathered today at the Cairo global launch of a UNICEF Digest “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Changing a harmful Social Convention”, exploring the social dynamics of the practice around the globe and suggesting viable formulas to engage communities in the abandonment of FGM/C in one generation.
Adding their voices against the continuation of a practice affecting millions of girls and women worldwide, a declaration by a group of young delegates from Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti, Egypt and Oman kicked-off the event at the Cairo Conrad Hotel.
International panellists also stressed the need for affected communities and concerned organisations to come together and set the guidelines of sustained community-based dialogue to help systematic abandonment of FGM/C in one generation.
“The pressure for change is coming from the communities themselves; from young people who represent the means to the solution. With this sense of common purpose, it is possible to believe that FGM/C abandonment can be achieved within a generation”, said today Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
|© UNICEF Egypt 2005|
|Young participants in the FGM/C roundtable|
The event included an anti-FGM message by Olympic gold-medallist Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan marathon runner now advocating for poverty reduction and conflict resolution in the Greater Horn of Africa Region. Loroupe’s story is one of a brave woman who refused to become yet another victim of FGM/C as ruled by her own community’s tradition.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mahmoud Kabil shared memories of a ceremony in an Upper Egypt village that declared itself FGM-free. Kabil’s campaigning with UNICEF includes activities in the areas of Female Genital Mutilation, HIV/AIDS and Girls’ Education.
The Innocenti report looks into minimum conditions for an enabling environment to systematically abolish FGM/C at the grassroots level. The digest describes a process of change that needs to gain support by legislative and policy reforms framed by international standards. At the same time, communities need to manifest their will to abandon the practice, together with social measures and appropriate legislation, advocacy and awareness-raising activities.
“Involving media and opinion leaders, civil society and religious leaders is crucial towards significantly boosting local, national and international commitment”, added Martha Santos-Pais, Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
For further information, please contact
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