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UN Fight Female Genital Mutilation
By admin February 11, 2015

The United Nations has designated February 6th as the International Day of Zero Tolerance on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) after a year of awareness campaign. The campaign was launched in 2014 to fight against the practice of FGM, which is concentrated in 29 African countries, Middle East, and some countries in Asia. This practice is a showcase of gender inequality, attempts to control women’s sexuality, ideas about purity, modesty and aesthetics.

 

The Guardian launched its campaign to end FGM a year ago, joining with activists, media organizations and committed politicians. In February 2014, the Guardian joined with Bristol student Fahma Mohamed, who calls for FGM to be addressed in school. Within days, Mohamed’s petition gathered 230,000 signatures. The then British Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove quickly agreed to a meeting, and subsequently wrote to all teachers in England and Wales about FGM. Influenced by Mohamed, In the US, an Atlanta resident Jaha Dukureh lobbied the government to carry out the first prevalence study into FGM and set up a working group to tackle the problem in America. In July 2014, the Obama administration announced it would carry out a study to establish how many women are living with the consequences of FGM. She also held a youth summit in her home country, Gambia, where she influenced people to fight FGM, and confront her father and the women who cut her about the practice.

 

In Kenya, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon launched a joint UN & Guardian Media Campaign againstFGM in Nairobi, Kenya. The global media campaign recognizes the critical role of media around the world in increasing the coverage of FGM and its dangers across the continent.  The campaign gave two initiatives to help support media outlets in Kenya and across the continent. A new joint UNFPA-Guardian International FGM Reporting Award will be granted annually to an African reporter who has demonstrated innovation and commitment in covering FGM.

Even though the one-year long campaign was largely successful, there were setbacks too. Questions are raised about the decision to prosecute a doctor when he was found not guilty. The movement lost a lifelong campaigner with the death of Efua Dorkenoo, who was a Ghanaian-British campaigner against FGM who pioneered the global movement to end the practiceand worked on the campaign internationally for more than 30 years.

 

There was much to celebrate thanks to the one-year-long campaign by local and international activists.  Yet the world is still far from zero FGM. There are presumably 130m women and girls living with FGM across the world, and prevalence rates are still high in many of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Looking forward, the campaign still has a far way to go but is making progress towards the goal of zero FGM. 

 

 


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