[Human Rights] HRC 26th Session, High-level panel discussion on the identification of good practices in combating FGM
Geneva, 16 June 2014
Austria would like to thank both the panelists for their comprehensive and valuable remarks and the OHCHR for the preparation of this important event. We strongly welcome this discussion on identifying good practices to combat FGM.
There are still far too many women and girls around the world who become victim of female genital mutilation and suffer from its far-reaching and severe consequences such as permanent pain, frequent infections or complications during pregnancy. FGM not only violates the right to physical integrity, it also scars them for life. Therefore, a more coordinated approach at all levels is needed.
Despite the progress made in recent years regarding reducing FGM, the practice continues to persist in many countries due to several reasons, including traditional or religious customs. However, we have to make clear that there is no religious or cultural justification for this abuse, and that this must be rejected. FGM constitutes an offence in Austria whereby the Criminal Code explicitly excludes the possibility of consent to such a mutilation. Not only can the person performing the operation but also the parents in the case of minors be held accountable.
Austria has for years been supporting the fight against female genital mutilation at the national and international level – by financing projects, for example, and through awareness campaigning particularly in schools in Austria or of medical staff Austria lends its continuous support to initiatives at the international level fostering the international commitment for the fight against genital mutilation. Austria considers that the fight against FGM must receive particular attention within the measures to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, in the post-2015 process. The Austrian Development Cooperation has been providing sustained assistance for projects in Africa that aimed at fighting genital mutilation.
Cooperation projects in this field are organized together with UNICEF, the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) and NGOs and they are focusing on the Austrian Development Cooperation priority countries.
I thank you.