"Governments in countries where female genital mutilation is prevalent should also develop national action plans to end the practice", they said, adding that their plans must include budget lines dedicated to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, education, social welfare and legal services.
International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, which falls on February 6 every year, is a United Nations-sponsored annual awareness day. "It is a violation of human rights and has to stop now".
Everyone owns their own body and it is up to them to decide about it, the diplomat said, and called for redoubled action to end female genital mutilation.
The UN earmarked February 6 as a reminder that efforts needed to be made in order to end female genital mutilation, which affects more than 200 million women and girls, said World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic in Geneva.
Since FGM concerns both the health and rights of women and children, WHO, UNICEF, and UNFPA each use their targeted strengths advocating against cutting, in a cross-agency collaboration, to complement the others. "The practice exposes girls to difficulties either right after the practice or later in life when they may have complications with their sexual and reproductive health".
The strategy involves several dimensions: enforcing the criminalization of female genital mutilation, applying ministerial decisions against FGM, changing society to support the rights of children and women and developing information systems monitoring and evaluating programs for family empowerment programs and combating female circumcision.
While concentrated mainly in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East, it is a universal problem and occurs in some countries in Asia and Latin America.
"At the national level, we need new policies and legislation protecting the rights of girls and women to live free from violence and discrimination". It can spread HIV, and shoddy procedures can lead to death. And every year, nearly four million girls are at risk, Guteress stated.
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