Spindelegger commenting on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
Vienna, 6 February 2012 – On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger put it very clearly: “Female genital mutilation is a severe violation of human rights and must be stopped by all available means. We must double our efforts to eradicate this archaic custom that puts the health of young women and girls at stake.”
Every year, the genitals of three million women and girls are mutilated worldwide. More than 130 million women suffer their entire life from the consequences of this atrocious ritual. A current report of the United Nations states that while the continued international efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation have brought about a slight decrease in the number of women mutilated, the cutting of women and girls is still very common in many African countries, some areas of Asia and the Middle East – despite national legal bans.
There are also disturbing reports about an increasing number of cases of mutilation of immigrants living in Europe and the USA. This shows that the efforts to effectively implement legal bans need to be intensified and that more awareness must be created. “Female genital mutilation is a particularly perfidious form of violence committed against women. Austria is going to proactively support the protection of rights of girls and women within the framework of the imminent session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and to fight for the worldwide abolition of this discriminating practice“, Spindelegger concluded.
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