NEW YORK, 6 February 2011 - All girls deserve to grow up free from harmful practices that endanger their health and well-being. But every year, three million women and girls in Africa alone face the prospect of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), a practice with serious immediate and long-term health effects and a clear violation of fundamental human rights. Worldwide, 100 to 140 million have already undergone the practice.
In Africa, communities are coming together to put an end to FGM/C. Through a joint programme, UNFPA and UNICEF are working to support their efforts. Governments, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders and community groups are making real progress. Three years into the programme, more than 6,000 communities in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia have already abandoned the practice. Social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls.
To mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, we are renewing our own commitment to put an end to FGM/C. We call on the global community to join us in this critical effort. Together, we can abolish FGM/C in one generation and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives.
For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Fordham, UNICEF Media, New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7162,
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426,
Omar Gharzeddine, UNFPA, New York,
Tel + 1 212 297 5028,