February 6 marks International Day for Zero Tolerance on female genital mutilation (FGM). The practice consists of having the external part of female genitals cut, as a method of curbing sexual desire and ensuring that girls do not engage in intercourse before marriage - or that they do not enjoy it after for that matter. "'This is not acceptable and this is done in the name of tradition, culture, religion, or in the name of ensuring that women are to take on subservient roles to the men they will eventually marry, ' said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the secretary general's envoy on youth, speaking at an global forum in the Gambia on strategies to combat the practice..."
The study also points out that in the absence of a law, India could become a global hub for FGM, as many countries such as the United States and Australia have seen arrests and convictions for carrying out the practise.
As per the study, 97 per cent women who remembered their FGM/C experience from childhood recalled it as painful.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will announce $3 million in funding for a project to stop female genital cutting in Benin, West Africa.
In his message on the day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres' described FGM as a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls. Without accelerated progress to protect the growing number of girls at risk of this harmful practice in these countries, millions of girls could be cut by 2030.
Of the risks that FGM breeds according to the World Health Organization are the following: "severe bleeding, problems urinating, later cysts, infections, childbirth complications, and an increased risk of newborn deaths".
He noted that sustainable development can not be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls.
To end the practice of FGM, coordinated and systematic efforts are needed and they must engage the whole community and focus on human rights and gender equality.
The challenges are mainly attitudinal and the issues of cross border practice. Kenya outlawed the practice of FGM in 2011. Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice. The Ministry will increase collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Regional Integration to sensitize and educate citizens from the border areas and neighbouring countries through their Embassys and or High Commissions.
Allocate a clear and sufficient budget for the implementation of the National Action Plan including specialised services, resources and trained professionals.
Due to increasing activism from civil society and worldwide organizations devoted to eradicating FGM, in recent years it has been banned in Egypt, Sudan, and Djibouti.