On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Italy wishes to reaffirm its unconditional commitment to the elimination of this heinous form of violence to which girls are subjected, which has serious and irreversible consequences on their physical and psychological development and constitutes an enormous obstacle in the process towards gender equality and women's empowerment in societies where it is still practiced. According to the latest Report of the Secretary General of the United Nations, published last July, at least 200 million women and girls in the world have been subjected to female genital mutilation and over 4 million girls are at risk each year.
Combating all forms of violence against women and girls is one of the priorities of our current mandate in the UN Human Rights Council. We are endeavouring to this end, both within the competent international organisations, starting from the negotiations in the General Assembly and in the Human Rights Council, and in the bilateral relations with interested third countries, and directly on the ground, through the Italian Cooperation projects. We are in fact among the main donor countries engaged on this front and the Italian legislation on prevention and prohibition of female genital mutilation is considered a best practice internationally.
We believe that combating this phenomenon requires an all-encompassing and multidisciplinary approach, which takes into account the link between these unacceptable practices and gender inequality, and which is not limited to prohibition but also promotes integrated policies – including awareness raising and empowerment of the affected countries and local communities – to ensure that this abominable practice is no longer tolerated by society at large.