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Statement of Italy in the High-level panel discussion on the multisectoral prevention of and response, including the global response, to female genital mutilation at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council

In the context of the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Italy took part in the High-level panel discussion on the multisectoral prevention of and response, including the global response, to female genital mutilation.

The Permanent Representative of Italy to the International Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, confirmed Italy’s firm and strong commitment to fighting traditional harmful practices both at national and international level, also with a view to contributing to the achievement of SDG5 and its related target 5.3.

In line with Italy’s multi-year engagement to fight Female Genital Mutilation, including at the UN General Assembly and in the Human Rights Council, Italy proactively supported, acting as burden sharer of the European Union, the resolution 44/16 and the decision to convene this important high-level panel discussion. “The eradication of Female Genital Mutilation and child, early and forced marriage are two core priorities of the current mandate of Italy at the Human Rights Council”, declared Ambassador Cornado.

Recalling that “FGM is a serious human rights violation and a severe form of violence that inflicts irreparable harm and causes lifelong health risks and suffering for women and girls, both physically and mentally”, the Permanent Representative of Italy outlined that FGM has a very negative impact on women empowerment and, as a consequence, on the sustainable development of societies. “To end this practice is key not only to eliminate obstacles to women’s equality and empowerment, but also to move towards a society where violence against women is not allowed”, he stated.

Since 2006 Italy enacted a law that criminalizes FGM and provides a framework to implement projects and raising awareness activities aimed at countering this practice with the involvement of local civil society and NGOs. As Ambassador Cornado explained, “this law has been recognized by the UN Secretary General as a best practice and it inspires the strong engagement of Italy in pursuing its fight against FGM in all multilateral fora”.

Italy also expressed its deep concern for the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately negative impact on women and girls, disrupting progress on SDG target 5.3 and putting additional 2 million girls at risk of FGM by 2030, according to UNFPA estimates. The fight against FGM will remain a priority for the projects implemented by the Italian Development Cooperation. Since 2004 over 25 million of Euro have been invested, often in cooperation with UNFPA and UNICEF.

Ambassador Cornado finally quoted the UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s words “together we can eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030” and concluded: “We encourage this Council and the international community to redouble their efforts to reach that goal and will continue advocating for the elimination of all traditional harmful practices”.

Click here for the full statement.