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Italy’s commitment to eliminate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation

On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Italy is reaffirming its unconditional commitment to the elimination of this aberrant and inhuman practice, which constitutes a serious violation of human rights and has irreversible consequences on the health and physical and psychological development of girls and young women – jeopardising their ability to fully assert themselves in society and hindering the advancement towards gender equality.

UN data shows that at least 200 million girls and young women have fallen victim to this heinous form of violence worldwide, and more than 4 million girls and young women are at risk of falling victim to it in 2023. Mainly occurring in African and Middle Eastern countries, female genital mutilation is a universal challenge that often comes alongside other forms of violence, discrimination and marginalisation. It is a terrible problem that is also linked to the phenomenon of child marriage, which becomes more and more frequent every year. While the efforts of all international actors have contributed to the progress achieved in eliminating Female Genital Mutilation, the growth of the world’s population makes it necessary to continue to support the international community’s comprehensive commitment.

According to Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antonio Tajani, “this is an international campaign that sees Italy at the forefront. The fight against all forms of violence and abuse against women and girls is indeed one of the priorities of Italian foreign policy, across the field of human rights and Italian development cooperation. To this end, work is being done both within the competent international organisations, starting with the United Nations, and in bilateral relations with the third countries concerned. Italy is among the main donor countries committed on this front, and its national legislation on the prevention and prohibition of female genital mutilation practices is considered a best practice at the international level.”

Fighting and eradicating this heinous phenomenon for good requires the maximum commitment of institutions, civil society, communities, families and all of us, both women and men. Italy promotes an all-encompassing approach that is not limited to prohibition but also promotes integrated policies – including awareness-raising and empowerment of the countries and local communities concerned – to ensure that this aberrant practice is no longer tolerated in society. Ending this practice is also a key factor in achieving gender equality and promoting development, economic growth and the achievement of sustainable development goals, in line with the UN Agenda.