The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has received a €1.8 million (euro) donation from the Italian Government aimed at putting an end to female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), a procedure that is still performed on some 2 million girls each year.
“This is a very welcome and important contribution to UNICEF’s efforts towards stopping this harmful practice. FGM/C is not only a violation of every child’s rights, it is physically harmful and has serious consequences for the health of millions of girls and women,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said today.
The agency estimates that more than 100 million women and girls around the world have suffered from some form of FGM/C, a procedure that causes irreparable physical injury. It can also cause psychological harm and can be potentially life threatening. The procedure is mainly performed on children and adolescents between six and 15 years of age; in some countries, however, up to half of FGM/C is performed on infants under one year old.
In 2002 governments around the world committed themselves to ending FGM/C by the 2010. “UNICEF salutes the Italian Government for putting resources behind the promise to end FGM/C,” Ms. Bellamy said. “We hope that this donation will energize others to mobilize their efforts to meet the promise of ending FGM/C by 2010.”