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International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation: Terzi calls for UN Resolution condemning the practice

“2012 could be the year when, through a Resolution by the UN General Assembly, the international community condemns this barbaric practice. A practice that inflicts grievous damage on the dignity and physical and psychological health of women and girls, of whom over 140 million are affected throughout the world”. This was the declaration made by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which falls today, 6 February.

“Our country has always supported the campaign against Female Genital Mutilation”, added Terzi. He recalled his own personal efforts in New York in 2009, when Italy organised a meeting of the principal African countries working on this issue. “We need to see a major effort in the education field, one that is mindful of cultural traditions and which promotes social and cultural change from within the countries concerned”.

FGM is affecting about 140 million girls and women worldwide, with 28 African countries most affected. Italy is one of the strongest supporters of the battle to eliminate the practice. In the Horn of Africa, where FGM is widespread, Italian Development Cooperation is launching a 2.2 million euro project in Djibouti to protect women’s health.

Italian Cooperation is also engaged in awareness-raising initiatives on this issue. Today, at the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Ababa, a debate on FGM will be held. Taking part will be representatives of Italian Development Cooperation, the Ministry for Women, Children and Youth Affairs, and organisations that have always campaigned against this practice that is so harmful to women’s health. These are the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC) and Ethiopia Goji Limadawi Dirgitoch Aswogaj Mahiber (EGLDAM). The debate will be followed by a screening of the French-Senegalese film “Moolaadé”, on the same subject.