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Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence Statement Ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, 6 February 2021

Ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, 6 February 2021, the Co-leaders of the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence reaffirmed their commitment to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and all forms of gender-based violence (GBV), around the world.

Women and girls in all their diversity have the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to live free from violence, and all deserve the ability to control their own bodies and future. However, women and girls around the world continue to be subjected to the dangerous practice of female genital mutilation.

At least 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone FGM and the majority have been subjected to this harmful practice by the age of 14. FGM is a harmful practice, a form of gender-based violence against women and girls and a violation of girls’ rights, that denies their autonomy and increases exposure to sometimes fatal, immediate or longer-term physical and psychological harm. FGM impacts women and girls’ full enjoyment of their human rights, including the rights to life to health, and to education among others.

FGM has not been recognised as an issue seriously affecting the enjoyment of human rights of women and girls’ in some countries. The voices of women and girls are therefore indispensable to informing legal, policy and institutional measures to end FGM. Women and adolescent girls must be included in designing, implementing, and monitoring interventions to effectively prevent, mitigate, and respond to this form of gender-based violence.

The Action Coalitions launched in the context of the Generation Equality Forum, are global, multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize government, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector towards addressing issues impacting women’s lives and livelihoods across the globe. The Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence works to coordinate efforts on a common blueprint to end all forms of violence against women in all their diversity worldwide.

Together we commit to using tangible, practical, and ambitious measures to create an enabling environment for the elimination of FGM and all forms of GBV, to change the norms that sustain harmful practices through scaled up prevention programs and comprehensive, accessible, affordable, and quality services for survivors. Moreover, we commit to increase accountability, participation, and support to women´s rights organisations, as well as, autonomous girl led initiatives, women rights activists and human rights defenders working to address GBV, through concrete actions over the next five years.

Zero tolerance for FGM requires zero tolerance for gender-based violence and all other harmful practices. The Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence is ready to do its part in accelerating progress to end harmful practices by 2030 and ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights by all women and girls.

Background
Female Genital Mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, as defined by the World Health Organisation.

FGM constitutes a form of violence against women and girls; it has severe short and long-term physical and psychological consequences.

According to estimates from UNICEF, more than 200 million girls and women have suffered from Female Genital Mutilation across the world. 68 million girls in 25 countries are expected to be cut between 2015 and 2030.

The COVID-19 crisis is increasing girls’ risk of FGM including through loss of access to education due to school closures and increasing financial pressure on families. UNFPA projects that without urgent action and because of declining progress to end gender-based violence against women and girls, as many as 2 million additional girls may be exposed to FGM. Even before COVID-19, UNFPA had estimated that around 4.1 million women and girls would be at risk of FGM in 2020.

For more information on the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence, and other Action Coalitions within the Generation Equality forum, please visit this page.

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