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UNICEF to release study on female genital mutilation

Underscores new data and new solutions

What:  Global Launch Event: Changing a Harmful Social Convention: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting  A Digest produced by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre


  • Dr. Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director
  • Emma Bonino, Member of the European Parliament
  • Marta Santos Pais, Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
  • Ambassador Moushira Khattab, Secretary General of the Egypt National Council for Childhood and Motherhood
  • Tegla Loroupe, Kenyan athlete and anti- FGM/C activist.
  • Youth participants from Middle East and Africa

When:   November 24, 2005: 09:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where:  Conrad Hotel, Cairo


The Innocenti Digest examines the social dynamics of FGM/C, a harmful practice which is a fundamental violation of girls’ and women’s human rights.

The Digest takes stock of the progress achieved to date in different countries towards abandonment of FGM/C, and identifies some of the most promising strategies being employed against it. Among the key findings:

  • Available data show that the current prevalence of FGM around the world is roughly the same as it was nearly a decade ago.
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) affects far more women than previously thought. An estimated three million girls and women are cut each year on the African continent (Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt and Sudan).
  • FGM/C is becoming a global problem. Not only is FGM/C practiced among communities in Africa and the Middle East, but with increased population movements and migration, FGM/C is also an issue in immigrant communities throughout the world. 
  • Real social change is a lengthy and complex process. Still, there is every reason to be optimistic that with global support, FGM/C can be ended within a single generation. 
  • Never before has the global community had such a refined understanding of why FGM/C persists.  Factors perpetuating the practice include woman’s status, marriageability, chastity, health, beauty and family honour.
  • A number of promising initiatives are supporting communities to abandon FGM/C in Africa and the Middle East. The most successful guide communities to define the problems and solutions themselves. 
  • Engaging adolescents and young people is critical to promote the abandonment of the practice.

Set in the framework of the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, (November 25), this Global launch will count on the participation of Rima Salah, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director; Emma Bonino, Member of the European Parliament; Ambassador Moushira Khattab, Secretary General of the Egyptian National Council for Childhood and Motherhood as well as International celebrities, adolescents and anti-FGM/C activists.

The Global launch will provide a platform for the exchange of experiences and commitments in fighting FGM/C, and will also constitute the occasion for a major involvement of the International Community to support the Partnership Strategy Plan to End FGM/C in 2010, as part of the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy, was established in 1988 to strengthen the research capability of UNICEF and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Innocenti Digests are produced by the Centre to provide reliable and accessible information on specific rights issues.

Attention broadcasters: UNICEF makes constantly updated video from the field available for free on www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef.

For further information, please contact:

UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence
Salvador Herencia  (+39 055) 20 33 354, sherencia@unicef.org

UNICEF MENA Regional Office (Amman)
Anis Salem, (+96 269) 541 1414, asalem@unicef.org

UNICEF Egypt Country Office
Simon Ingram, (+ 202 526) 5083 thru 7, singram@unicef.org

Kate Donovan, +212) 326 7452, kdonovan@unicef.org

Ikuko Yamaguchi , (+41 22) 909 5727, iyamaguchi@unicef.org






21 November 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Sarah Crowe reports on a Senegalese community’s decision to end the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting.

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