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Joint Statement: International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting


UNFPA                                        UNICEF
Executive Director                     Executive Director
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin         Anthony Lake

NEW YORK, 6 February 2011 - All girls deserve to grow up free from harmful practices that endanger their health and wellbeing. 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 program, UNFPA and UNICEF are working to support their efforts. Governments, non-governmental organisations, religious leaders and community groups are making real progress. Three years into the program, 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.



Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)
FGM/C refers to the removal of all or part of the female genitalia. Despite global efforts to promote abandonment of the practice, FGM/C remains widespread in many developing countries, and has spread to other parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, where some immigrant families have now settled. The majority of girls who have undergone the practice live in 28 countries in Africa and Western Asia. It has also been reported among certain populations in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. More on FGM/C:

The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Program
The Program will be represented at an event entitled ‘Building Bridges between Europe and Africa.’ The event includes representatives of governments in Africa, Europe and Latin America, several United Nations agencies, other international groups and women who have undergone FGM/C, including Senegalese rap star Sister Fa. The event is organised by the IAC (Inter-Africa Committee) on 7 February.

For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Fordham
UNICEF Media New York
Tel + 1 212 326 7162,

Patrick McCormick
Tel + 1 212 326 7426,

Omar Gharzeddine
UNFPA, New York
Tel + 1 212 297 5028,

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel + 6 012 292 6872,





ChildInfo: FGM/C

Publication: FGM/C

Changing a harmful social convention, 2008. Read


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