Vienna, 6 February 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: Zero tolerance to female genital mutilation

Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

Vienna, 6 February 2013 – "Female genital mutilation is an incredibly brutal practice and one of the most terrible violations of human rights", Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the 10th International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. "According to estimates of the World Health Organisation, 140 million girls and women still fall victim to genital mutilation world-wide. Often they are mutilated at a very young age and have to suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. Many girls and women die, either during the actual mutilation or from complications later on, for example when giving birth."

"We must not turn a blind eye to this", Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger continued. "There can be no tolerance for female genital mutilation and we have to do our utmost to protect young girls from it in future. Austria has for years been fighting female genital mutilation on the international stage. At the end of 2012, for example, we provided 120,000 euros for a UNICEF project against genital mutilation in Ethiopia – one of the priority countries of Austrian Development Cooperation."

"In the autumn of 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted the first resolution on putting an end to female genital mutilation. It goes without saying that Austria supported this initiative of the African Group right from the beginning, and I welcome the fact that the African countries succeeded in taking a stance here. We are going to continue our support for their fight against this violation of human rights that is still being committed on all continents." 

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