On this International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation, I join my United Nations colleagues in calling upon health workers around the world to eliminate this deeply harmful practice.
The medical community’s active support for the rights of girls and women to be protected from FGM has been critical in achieving the renewed commitments of Member States as reflected in the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution on this issue.
Health systems and health professionals are essential to the wellbeing of societies. They provide credible, scientific and unbiased information that can help people protect themselves from violations of their rights.
I am truly inspired by actions already being taken by health professionals, such as the Mauritanian Association of Midwives, which refuses to practice female genital mutilation and actively promotes the abandonment of the practice as the result of support from the UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme on female genital mutilation/cutting.
We must also ensure that parents do not seek to bypass health workers in finding alternative methods of subjecting their daughters to FGM.
If everyone is mobilized, women, men and young people, it is possible, in this generation, to end a practice that currently affects some 130 million girls and women in the 29 countries where we have data.
Change is coming from within the communities. Breaking the silence and disproving the myths around FGM are the first steps along the way to eliminating it altogether.
On this International Day, I call for all people and partners to end FGM and create the future we want where every girl can grow up free of violence and discrimination, with full dignity, human rights and equality.