Last February 4, 2019, in a joint statement for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore, reaffirmed their commitment to end this violation of human rights.
In 2015, world leaders overwhelmingly backed the elimination of female genital mutilation as one of the targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is an achievable goal, and we must act now to translate that political commitment into action.
At the national level, we need new policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination. Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent should also develop national action plans to end the practice. To be effective, their plans must include budget lines dedicated to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, education, social welfare and legal services.
At the regional level, we need institutions and economic communities to work together, preventing the movement of girls and women across borders when the purpose is to get them into countries with less restrictive female genital mutilation laws. Locally, we need religious leaders to strike down myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion.