The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has termed Female Genital Mutilation as an abhorrent violation of the fundamental human rights, and causes damage to the physical and mental health of women and girls.
Mr. Guterres said:” More than four-Million girls are at risk of being subjected to Female Genital Mutilation in 2023 alone.”
The UN Boss then called for urgent investment to reach the Sustainable Development Goal, on the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.
According to him, FGM is rooted in the same gender inequality, and complex social norms that limit women and girls’ participation and leadership and restrict them from accessing education and employment.
UN-Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ comment was contained in his message on the International Day of Zero-tolerance for FGM and was read by UN-Women Liberia Country Representative Comfort Lamptey.
In his message on the Day to celebrate the end of female genital mutilation, Mr. Guterres maintained that FGM is a form of discrimination that damages the whole of the society and therefore requires the efforts of the whole of the society to end it.
He challenged men and boys to join efforts and join him in the fight against FGM.
Meanwhile, over eight-hundred traditional Zoes are poised to benefit from the Expanded Livelihood Support program under the UN Spotlight Initiative
The beneficiaries will be drawn from the eleven practicing counties across Liberia.
The Disclosure was made by the UN-Women Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, at programs marking the international day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, Monday, February 6,2023, in Sonkay Town, Montserrado County.
Madam Lamptey said:” Under the program, former Female Genital Mutilation practitioners will be economically empowered through village savings and loan associations.”
She noted that the empowerment scheme will immensely help to discourage former Zoes from engaging in the harmful practice.
The UN-Women Country Representative committed to working with government in other sectors that are geared towards bettering the lives of young women and girls in Liberia.
Madam Lamptey lauded traditional leaders headed by Chief ZanZan Karwor, including the Zoes, for their tireless efforts in ensuring that FGM is ended in Liberia.
She also extended friendly sentiments to Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and Gender Minister and all other Liberians for championing the cause to eradicate the harmful FGM practice from the Liberian culture.
The UN-Women Liberia Country Representative recognized the beautiful Liberian culture being practiced, and thanked the former FGM practitioners for agreeing to remove the harmful aspect and maintained the “Initiation without Mutilation” aspect of the beautiful culture and tradition in Liberia.
The day to end FGM in Montserrado County coincided with the International Day of Zero tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, under the theme, “Men and Boys as Allies in Changing Social Norms and Ending FGM,” an effort Madam Lamptey lauded Liberia’s Chief of Traditional Leaders, Chief Zanzan Karwor, for leading.
She then renewed UN-Women’s commitment to fully supporting and partnering with Liberia to ensure that FGM and other forms of violence against women are curtailed.
Also at the event, UN-women Ambassador on the elimination of Female genital mutilation, Jaha Dukureh, re-emphasized the utmost need to finally end the harmful practice in Liberia.
The child-bride and survivor of FGM herself, Madam Dukureh passionately lauded the Zoes/ former FGM practitioners for accepting to willingly bring an end to the practice.
Jaha then promised to work along with Liberia and traditional leaders to ensure that female genital mutilation gets to zero in the Country, and called for urgent investment in empowerment programs as the surest way to end violence against women and girls.
She said if women are lifted out of poverty, crimes against them will minimize greatly.
According to her, FGM is one issue that is hugely underfunded, even though more than 200-Million women and girls in Africa are affected by the harmful practice.
She called on the international community to see reason to fully spend money on issues relating the FGM.
The European Union, the sponsor of the spotlight initiative, which is providing alternative livelihood for the former FGM practitioners, was representative by its Ambassador in Liberia, Laurent Delahousse.
Ambassador Delahousse also recognized the importance of culture in Liberia, noting that development without culture and identity is doomed to fail.
He stressed that the action by traditional leaders, the zoes/former FGM practitioners to agree to end the practice of FGM signifies that traditions that are harmful, illegal and wrong can be changed.
Mr. Delahousse stressed the need for vigorous efforts to FGM and all forms of violence, noting that any day lost in the fight against FGM means more broken lives for girls in Liberia.
The EU-Ambassador then re-committed the Bloc fullest support to issues relating to the fight against FGM and every other violation of women and girls in Liberia.
Source” State Radio
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