UN chief calls for concerted action to halt practice
By Tunde Adebiyi
Secretary General of the United Nations, UN, Mr Anthony Gutteres has reiterated that the world body continues to see the continuing practice of female genital mutilation, FGM as a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls and as such a practice that must be curtailed and stopped.
According to him, over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.
Underscoring how grevious the challenge continues to be, he asserted that without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.
Gutteres, who was speaking on the occasion of the World Day for Zero Tolerance on the Practice of Female Genital Mutilation added however that with strong political engagement, we are already beginning to see success in several countries.
‘But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise,’ he lamented.
According to him also, ‘Sustainable development cannot be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal 5, with a focus on gender equality, calls for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.’
On fresh measures to combat the scourge, he disclosed that ‘together with the European Union, the United Nations has launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year undertaking that aims to create strong partnerships and align efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.
With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice,’ the UN scribe emphasized.
Some 20 million Nigerian women and girls are said to be victims of FGM, making the country the nation with the highest number of victims of FGM worldwide.
Nigeria’s Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole