In a joint declaration issued on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the Executive Directors of UN Women, UNFPA and UNICEF reaffirmed their commitment to ending this violation of human rights by 2030.


UN Women’s Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, UNFPA’s Natalia Kanem, and UNICEF’s Henrietta H. Fore issued a joint statement to “Take action to eliminate female genital mutilation by 2030” citing that “ This effort is especially critical because female genital mutilation leads to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences. It violates women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, physical integrity, non-discrimination and freedom from cruel or degrading treatment. It is also a violation of medical ethics: Female genital mutilation is never safe, no matter who carries it out or how clean the venue is.

The trio indicated that FGM cannot be addressed “in isolation from other forms of violence against women and girls, or other harmful practices such as early and forced marriages. To end female genital mutilation, we have to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and work for women’s social and economic empowerment.”

They further stated that the elimination of female genital mutilation as one of the targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an achievable goal, and thanked the collective action of governments, civil society, communities and individuals, for the decline in female genital mutilation.  “But we are not aiming for fewer cases of this practice. We are insisting on zero,” they concluded.

The executive directors called on:

  • “Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent” to develop effective national action plans to end the practice.
  • Regional institutions and economic communities to work together, preventing the movement of girls and women across borders when the purpose is to get them into countries with less restrictive female genital mutilation laws.
  • Local religious leaders to strike down myths that female genital mutilation has a basis in religion.

Source: UN Women