Amsterdam, the Netherlands – AWEPA welcomes the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, held annually on 6 February to raise awareness of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).
This year’s theme is “Achieving the new Global Goals through the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation by 2030.”
FGM/C is a practice that involves altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is internationally recognised as a violation of human rights and a form of child abuse.
Globally, it is estimated that between 100 million and 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM/C. If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls between the ages of 15 and 19 will be subjected to it by 2030.
According to UNICEF‘s latest report Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Global Concern, the number of girls and women around the world who have undergone FGM/C has risen dramatically to at least 200 million, with nearly a quarter of them being under the age of 14 when they were cut.
In the context of the International Day of Zero Tolerance 2016, AWEPA takes the opportunity to look back at its work to promote the abandonment of FGM/C, and glance towards future plans and activities in this field.
Through its Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Programme, AWEPA is uniquely placed to support parliamentarians as key catalysts for ending FGM/C. As coordinated and systematic efforts are needed, AWEPA partners with civil society organisations, governments and the UN to roll out projects in a wide variety of contexts.
AWEPA works in collaboration with UNFPA and UNICEF in the context of the Joint Programme Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change; with Plan International through the Obligation to Protect (O2P): Agents of Change Unite against FGM/C programme; and with the 6/2 Platform, an umbrella group comprising Defence for Children, Federation of Somali Associations in the Netherlands (FSAN), Pharos, Vluchtelingen Organisaties Nederland (VON), Plan Nederland and AWEPA.
Through its work, AWEPA aims to increase the capacity of parliamentarians to legislate around the protection of women and girls from violence, including FGM/C, as well as establishing links with communities requiring support towards abandonment.
On 5 February 2016, AWEPA will attend a conference, organised by the 6/2 platform in celebration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, to raise awareness of FGM/C and to stimulate discussion on how the practice can be combated.
The conference, entitled “End FGM: Prevention, Protection and the Provision of Care”, aims to promote preventative policies towards the abandonment of FGM/C and to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls who suffer from its consequences.
AWEPA is set to release a new edition of its “Guidelines for Parliamentarians: Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting” in 2016. This publication aims to provide useful and practical advice to be implemented specifically by parliamentarians towards the acceleration of the abandonment FGM/C. The revised guidelines will be funded by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Government of Luxembourg.
Read the current AWEPA Guidelines for Parliamentarians.