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General News of Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Source: GNA

Gender activists mark International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day

Accra, Feb. 06, GNA - Two local women organizations on Wednesday called on African governments to enforce international laws protecting the rights of women.

In a statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra to mark the February 6 United Nations Sub-Commission on Human Rights International Day on Zero Tolerance to FGM, Ms Estelle Robinson of the Foundation for Women's Health Research and Development (FORWARD) and Mrs Janet Narh of Ben TV's Woman's Hour urged gender based non-governmental and governmental organizations to fight for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). "FGM is a human rights violation and an atrocity against innocent people, carried out mainly for the dominance and self-interests of the perpetrators, scarring the victims emotionally and physically for ever and should not be allowed to continue." The statement reminded African governments, especially to reflect and deliberate on FGM, and re-new their commitments to end the human rights violation.

The two institutions also called on journalists to support gender based groups in their fight against the FGM and also for the achievement of Zero Tolerance to the menace. "All media should seek to expose and condemn the practice anywhere it is found to be in operation." The media must also stop the sensationalism, especially about gender issues and draw attention to the important role of women, present a balanced perspective of FGM using accurate information to avoid sensationalizing the issue and stigmatizing practicing communities. As part of the observation, the two institutions would launch a new publication on the film, "Moolaad=E9 as a Facilitator's Guide to Advocacy," to be available in both English and French. The film portrays an excellent use of the media to demonstrate that change should come from within, using the story of a village woman's resistance to FGM. According to FORWARD, estimates from the World Health Organisation indicate that three million girls were subjected to FGM around the world annually. 06 Feb. 08

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