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International Day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation – 6 February 2020

On the occasion of the international day of zero tolerance for female genital mutilation, an awareness raising event was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva with the aim of strongly reiterating the message that female genital mutilation (FGM) constitutes an unacceptable practice and a violation of the human rights of women and girls.

The 2020 edition, focused on the theme ” Unleashing Youth Power: One Decade of Accelerated Actions for Zero Female Genital Mutilation by 2030″, was organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN WOMEN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the event was co-sponsored by Italy together with the Permanent Representations of Burkina Faso, Egypt, Norway, the United Kingdom and Portugal, Sweden and Slovenia as well as the Delegations of the European Union.

Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in Geneva, intervened recalling Italy’s traditional and strong commitment in the fight against female genital mutilation, a phenomenon that still sees more than 4 million girls at risk in 2020 alone, focusing both on initiatives launched at national level and on those carried out internationally. He also urged to increase efforts to achieve, by 2030, the target 5.3 of the 2030 Agenda which specifically includes a commitment to eliminate all traditional harmful practices such as FGM and child early forced marriages, wishing for the full involvement of local communities and young people of the areas concerned for the full success of the initiatives carried out in this regard.

Italy, thanks to the law of 7 January 2006 n.7, has a best practice recognized by the United Nations itself both for the criminalization of FGM and for the awareness raising activities that come from it and which are developed, among other things, in various projects promoted by the Equal Opportunities Department of the Prime Minister Office also with the involvement of civil society and NGOs.

Internationally, in addition to being a strong promoter and supporter of all the UN resolutions aimed at ending female genital mutilation (including that adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2018), Italy has supported, since 2004, projects and activities worth over € 25 million in those countries where the practice of such a barbarism is still widespread.