February 7, 2022 8:34 pm

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) with support from the UNFPA-GHANA held a one-day sensitization programme to commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on Monday, 7th February, 2022 in Accra.

It was commemorated under the theme: “Accelerating Investments to End Female Genital Mutilation”.

The sensitization was aimed at strengthening the engagement of policy and decision makers as well as other relevant stakeholders to tackle FGM and to increase awareness-raising on the fight against the practice.

The UN General Assembly, designated 6th of February, in every year, as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, with the aim to amplify and direct the efforts on the elimination of FGM.

Delivering her keynote address, the Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Lariba Zuweira Abudu noted that FGM constitutes an extreme form of violation and discrimination against girls and women.

According to her, the practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security, and physical integrity; the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and the right to life, in instances when the procedure results in death.

“In 1994, the Ghanaian government outlawed female circumcision. According to this law, circumcisers can be sentenced up to 3 years of imprisonment – Criminal code Amendment Bill; Ghana, 1994”. She said.

Hon. Lariba Zuweira Abudu further stressed that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection does not consider violence against women and girls a public canker only, but a developmental challenge which distresses a large portion of the Ghanaian population and their influence to national development.

She further pledged the Ministry’s commitment to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to create awareness on the fight against FGM and also leverage on opportunities for collaboration and resource mobilization for effective prevention, protective measures and services for victims.

The UNFPA Country Representative, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, in his statement said over 200 million girls and women have undergone FGM with about 4 million girls at risk of experiencing FGM annually. He further said the UNFPA also estimates that an additional 2 million cases of FGM may occur over the next decade.

“A recent report from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC), indicated that the practice of FGM among women 15-49, is at 2.4 per cent with high rates in the Upper West (32.5per cent) and Upper East (13.2per cent) Regions and FGM among children 0-14 is 0.1 per cent”, He said.

Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, stressed that FGM is a human rights violation which contributes to inequalities and also hinders the development of women and girls. He therefore made a passionate appeal to all and sundry especially key stakeholders to educate and empower the girl child, accelerate and leverage their authority to influence norms that speak against FGM in their communities. This he said will shape positive norms to end harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation.

Source: MoGCSP