Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

U.N. calls for ban on FGM and forced marriages

A United Nations women’s forum in South Africa last week addressed the importance of ending violence and discrimination against girls and also called for a ban on female genital mutilation and forced marriages, Reuters reported Saturday.

Approximately 6,000 women from governments and grassroots groups attended the forum.

The Commission on the Status of Women passed two resolutions after two weeks of debate. The drafted resolution on circumcision “urges states to take all necessary measures to protect girls and women from female genital mutilation, including by enacting and enforcing legislation to prohibit this form of violence and to end impunity” U.N. agencies estimate that 3 million girls are subjected to the practice each year. Female genital mutilation is usually associated with African countries, but, according to the article, “it also takes place in some Middle Eastern nations, like Saudi Arabia, among immigrant communities in Europe and North America, and parts of Asia, including Indonesia.”

The resolution on forced marriage “urges states to enact and strictly enforce laws to ensure that marriage is entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” Patricia Prister, a U.S. representative at the forum, spoke on this issue saying, “Forced marriage of the girl child is a form of discrimination and violence that has negative consequences in terms of health, education, economic opportunities and subjection to violence.”

For the full article, click here.


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