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UN: adoption at committee stage of the Resolution against female genital mutilation is an important advance. We must now continue our efforts until the battle is won

“A reason for special satisfaction for Italy and an important step forwards in a campaign for civility that must be continued until the battle is won”. These were Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi’s words on learning of the adoption, just minutes ago in New York, of the Resolution on intensifying the global effort to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM). The Resolution was adopted by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian & Cultural) of the United Nations General Assembly. It is the Plenary Session of the General Assembly that must definitively adopt the Resolution, but this is expected before the end of December.

It is “highly significant”, in Terzi’s view, that the vote took place immediately after the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, on 25 November. Just yesterday, the foreign minister had publicly underscored that promoting women’s rights is “an absolute value and priority of Italian foreign policy”.

The Resolution, the first document dedicated specifically to the subject of FGM, was co-sponsored by Italy, which also negotiated the text on behalf of the European Union. The resolution was submitted by the Group of African States, representing the countries most affected by FGM. Italy’s efforts on this matter have also seen numerous initiatives in our domestic law.

Law 7 of 9 January 2006, cited as an example by the United Nations Secretary General, contains “Provisions concerning the prevention and prohibition of the practice of female genital mutilation”. It is a provision of broad scope which does not just ban FGM by introducing an ad hoc criminal offence, but also envisages a series of preventive measures and assistance services for the victims of the practice.