UNICEF, UNFPA Highlight Solution To End FGM, Predict Decade-long Violations

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UNICEF

By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos

Laws, policies and new social norms have to be enacted by countries to protect girls from undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM), as Novel CoronaVirus disease (COVID-19) heightens this human rights violation, two United Nations (UN) agencies have said.
In addition, the agencies stressed that only united, concerted and well-funded action can end FGM.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Fund against Population Activities (UNFPA) made the recommendation as they predicted that two million additional cases of female genital mutilation are likely to occur over the next decade due to COVID-19 pandemic.
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore and UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem issued a joint statement on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in which they highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on FGM.
“Two million additional cases of female genital mutilation may occur over the next decade as COVID-19 shutters schools and disrupts programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice,” the two authorities wrote on 5th February 2021.
UNICEF and UNFPA urged governments to act quickly, decisively and on many fronts simultaneously to ensure that girls have access to education, healthcare – including sexual and reproductive healthcare services – and livelihoods.
They called on countries and stakeholders to make sure that girls are protected by laws, policies and new social norms.
The UN agencies declared: “Let us encourage the leadership skills of adolescent girls and their male peers and inspire their power to speak out and say ‘enough’ to all forms of violence, including violent assults on their bodies.”

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