05 Mar 2013 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights


In Indonesia, continuing debate over "female circumcision"
By Elisabeth Oktofani, Khabar Southeast Asia, 05 Mar 2013

Despite growing international condemnation of female genital mutilation, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) is urging the government to resist any international or domestic pressure to ban the practice it calls female circumcision. "On the issue of female circumcision, we do not consider it compulsory, but we forbid any action to ban it," MUI Chairman Ma'ruf Amin told a January 21st press conference on the subject at MUI's Central Jakarta office, according to multiple media reports. He said that in recent times more medical practitioners have refused to perform female circumcisions, and he urged the government to act decisively against such individuals, based on its 2010 Health Ministry regulation on the practice, which effectively legitimises female circumcision and authorise medical professionals to perform it, the Jawa Pos National Network reported. "Because we support that regulation, we ask the government not to heed any effort by any party that wants circumcision banned in Indonesia," he said, according to Detik News.

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Donne, strategie anti-violenza e lo sguardo agli obiettivi del 2015
By Raffaele K. Salinari, la Repubblica, 04 Mar 2013

La 57° edizione della Commission on the Status of Women delle Nazioni Unite sull'eguaglianza di genere ha cominciato i suoi lavori a New York. Il focus di questa volta è il piano da adottare fino alla conclusione del ciclo che si concluderà nel 2015. NEW YORK - Si apre la sessione numero 57 del CSW (Commission on the Status of Women), l'organismo ONU fondato nel 1946 e deputato all'eguaglianza di genere ed alla promozione della donna. La sessione in corso è dedicata alla "eliminazione e prevenzione di ogni di violenza contro le donne e le bambine" e vedrà la partecipazione dei rappresentanti degli Stati e dei Governo aderenti all'Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite, ma anche di numerose Ong internazionali che porteranno la loro voce e le loro esperienze. L'Italia rappresentata da Elsa Fornero. La delegazione italiana, capeggiata dal ministro Fornero, è molto impegnata nel ricucire le posizioni europee ed ha organizzato diverse iniziative che coinvolgono le associazioni impegnate sul tema. La relazione genere/sviluppo dunque è al centro della discussione che vede la violenza contro donne e soprattutto bambine, crescere in tutto il mondo ed in forme sino a qualche anno o sono inedite o marginali.

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‘It makes me furious to know the mutilation continues’
By Euronews, 04 Mar 2013

Khady Koïta was sexually mutilated at the age of seven in Africa. Today, as a mother of four children, the emotional scars are as present as ever. She wrote a book called Mutilée (Mutilated) and has become a leading campaigner in the fight against female genital mutilation. Born in Senegal, and now living in Brussels, Khady spent many years working on the issue in France. Euronews reporter Seamus Kearney caught up with her in Paris. Seamus Kearney: ‘You wrote this book, Mutilée. How important was it for you to shed light on your own experience?’ Khady Koïta: ‘I wrote the book in 2005, and it covers my entire life, from birth to the present. I wanted to put the spotlight on exactly what female genital mutilation is, because I know it isn’t the same in every country. But it was also written for me, the suffering that I went through and the suffering of many woman around me, because mutilation is included in the definition of violence against women. It’s one of the most violent, most horrible and humiliating forms of violence because it concerns our personal intimacy.’ Seamus Kearney: ‘Do you clearly remember that day when you were sexually mutilated?’ 

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UN Women: culture must not block progress on stopping gender violence
By Liz Ford, The Guardian, 04 Mar 2013

Culture and religion must not be allowed to block proposals to eliminate and prevent violence against women and girls, the head of UN Women said on the eve of what is expected to be the largest global summit ever convened to discuss the issue. Michelle Bachelet said the 57th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which sits for two weeks in New York from today, should send a clear message that custom and tradition could not stand in the way of progress. "I know there are a lot of sensitivities and we need to ensure that cultural sensitivities are reflected, which is something that always comes into discussions in the UN. We do understand, and respect and believe in country ownership in every issue and want everyone to feel represented. "But having said that, this is a universal issue and there is no culture or religion that should accept this. I feel there is a clarity that we have to have a positive outcome document to move things forward," Bachelet told the Guardian. The CSW was established in 1946 and meets annually to assess progress on gender equality, and set standards and policies to promote women's empowerment. 

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Vatican, Iran resist UN effort fighting violence on women
BY Agence FRANCE-PRESSE, 03 Mar 2013

UNITED NATIONS - The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts by a UN conference, which started Monday, March 4, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children. More than 6,000 non-government groups are registered at the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women, one of the biggest events held at the UN headquarters which regularly turns into a diplomatic battle. This year's meeting has been made more emotive after an attack in October by the Taliban on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her attempts to promote girls' education in Pakistan and widely publicized gang rapes in India and South Africa. Diplomats said the Holy See, Iran and Russia are leading attempts wipe out language in a final statement that says religion, custom or tradition must not be used as an excuse to avoid a government's obligation to eliminate violence. They also have opposed references to rape by a woman's husband or partner, diplomats said.

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Cameron vows to end horror of mutilation
By Marie Woolf, The Sunday Times, 03 Mar 2013

DAVID CAMERON is to allocate tens of millions of pounds of Britain’s foreign aid to eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) around the world within a generation. He will make the largest-ever international investment to wipe out the practice, in which young girls are mutilated because their communities believe it makes them more marriageable. FGM is banned in Britain but up to 24,000 girls aged under 15 — mainly of African and Middle Eastern origin — are considered at risk of being taken abroad for the operation.

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