NPWJ: UN General Assembly Adopts Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

UN General Assembly Adopts Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

On Thursday 20 December 2012, at its 67th Ordinary Session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted by consensus a Resolution to Ban FGM worldwide. Its adoption reflects universal agreement that female genital mutilation constitutes a violation of human rights, which all countries of the world should address through “all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit FGM and to protect women and girls from this form of violence, and to end impunity”.

The adoption of the Resolution represents a paradigm shift of great significance, securing the political will necessary to stamp out the practice. For over two years the Ban FGM Coalition has worked for the recognition that female genital mutilation is a human rights violation which must be combated through the enactment and enforcement of legislation that bans it; in this advocacy, we have been joined and supported by human rights activists, women’s organizations, parliamentarians, government representatives and ordinary citizens from throughout Africa, Europe and worldwide.

And so, on the day of this long-awaited event, we write you to extend our congratulations to you, too, because this is also your victory, through your support for the Campaign and your signature on the International Appeal for a worldwide ban on FGM. We would like to thank each of you again for your support and for your role in moving the world ever closer to the day that female genital mutilation will be once and for all eliminated.

The adoption of the Resolution is, however, not an end in itself: it is just the beginning of a new chapter in the fight against FGM. It is now up to all States and all of us to work together, so that the women and girls of tomorrow will be free from the threat of FGM.

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See the Media Coverage of the event

Banning Female Genital Mutilation

The fight to eliminate the scourge of female genital mutilation is breaking new ground. The United Nations General Assembly is poised to adopt a resolution on Thursday calling on all states to enact legislation banning this egregious human rights violation. This remarkable development has come about thanks to a coalition of non-governmental organizations that have worked closely over the past 10 years and those U.N. member states — notably Italy and Burkina Faso — that have been most dedicated to combating the practice at home and internationally.

The next step will be for all states to implement the recommendations of this breakthrough document, starting, in the words of the resolution, by taking “all necessary measures, including enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit female genital mutilations and to protect women and girls from this form of violence, and to end impunity.”

It is now up to all of us to support activists on the ground wh ose efforts were instrumental in reaching this milestone: we must all continue to challenge parliaments, governments and international bodies, and hold them accountable. We must strive to ensure that our needs top their list of priorities. As Aung San Suu Kyi once said to me: “Use your freedom to promote ours.” This is a call we should always cherish and fulfill whenever and wherever human rights are at stake.


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Emma Bonino is Vice-President of the Italian Senate and founder of No Peace Without Justice.

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Worldwide Ban of Female Genital Mutilation: from a Decision of the African Union to a United Nations General Assembly Resolution

In July 2011, at the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, African Heads of State adopted a Decision in support of a Resolution banning female genital mutilation to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Decision was evidence of the commitment to the issue on the part of States who have been at the forefront of fight against FGM throughout Africa.
This historic moment provided a significant and concrete impetus to the International Campaign for a United Nations General Assembly Resolution to banFgm Worldwide, which has been growing since a High-Level Conference in Ouagadougou in December 2009 held under the patronage of the First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E. Mme Chantal Compaoré.  Since that time, and with renewed dedication at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Dakar in April 2010, an ever-widening group of activists has focused increasingly on bringing the struggle against female genital mutilation to the United Nations General Assembly, gathering the support of human rights activists, women’s organizations, parliamentarians and government representatives from throughout Africa and Europe.

In response to the African Union Decision taken in Malabo, the African Group at the UN took action to implement the will of the Heads of State by introducing a  CSW Decision at the Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2012, recommending that the issue of FGM, until now discussed only within the context of the CSW, be formally considered by the General Assembly under the agenda item “Advancement of Women”. In July 2012, the ECOSOC adopted the CSW recommendation and requested that the issue of female genital mutilation be added to the agenda of the 67th General Assembly. On 26 November 2012, the Social, Humanitarian Cultural Affairs Committee (commonly referred to as the Third Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the draft resolution “Intensifying Global Efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation”, paving the way to its formal adoption by the  67th General Assembly.

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Download the Brochure of the BanFGM Campaign