In a powerful joint statement, 37 members of the World Future Council are calling on governments to step up action to end the widespread violation of women and girls’ human rights.
As the world marks the annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, signatories including Dr. Auma Obama, US actress Daryl Hannah and environmental activist Vandana Shiva urge world leaders to introduce comprehensive legal and policy measures that effectively prevent FGM/C, address its consequences and hold perpetrators accountable.
More than 125 million girls have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where FGM/C is concentrated, and more than 30 million girls are at risk of being subjected to FGM/C over the next decade. The signatories stress that “the protection and promotion of girls’ human rights and bodily integrity needs to be a priority for governments, underpinned by a strong legal and policy framework.”
To prove that the practice can be suppressed effectively, the World Future Council highlights a law from Burkina Faso. Through significant efforts by the government to criminalise FGM, the country has successfully managed to almost halve the proportion of mutilated girls between 2006 and 2010.
“We need to finally put a stop to this brutal violation of girls’ rights and follow the excellent examples that are already out there. Political will and sufficient resources are crucial for policy measures to have a real impact on reducing violence against women and girls”, says Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the World Future Council and the Right Livelihood Award.
Last year, the World Future Council honoured the Burkinabe law criminalising FGM/C with the Silver Future Policy Award, the only award that celebrates policies rather than people.
“Examples from other countries show that we are slowly but surely taking the necessary steps in the right direction”, adds von Uexkull. In Egypt, where the devastating practice is widespread, a doctor and the father of a girl affected were recently sentenced for manslaughter and practicing FGM. Thirteen -year-old Sohair Al – Bataa had died from the effects of surgery in November 2013. This is the first time anyone has faced justiced since the practice was criminalized in 2008.
For the full statement and the list of signatories, please click here.