13 Mar 2012 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & Women's Rights

NPWJ in the news

Universal ban on FGM is a goal within close reach
By Daily Monitor, Uganda, 09 Mar 2012

 Worldwide, millions of women and girls still live with the threat or consequences of harmful traditional practices that violate their fundamental right to physical integrity. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is among these violations, and it too frequently goes unchallenged under the pretext of respect for cultural norms. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is estimated that more than 3 million girls and women are subjected to the practice each year and between 100 and 140 million are estimated to have undergone FGM.
Over the past decade, thanks to the long-standing dedication of women’s rights advocates and the increasing political commitment shown by affected states, significant and encouraging progress has been made. Nevertheless, many challenges remain, hampering a coordinated effort to rid the world of this blatant human rights violation, which needs to be addressed by global political leadership if we are to consign it once and for all to the history books where it belongs. To respond to this challenge, an ever-expanding coalition, composed of No Peace Without Justice, the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, Euronet-FGM, and the NGOs La Palabre and Manifesto 99, have spearheaded efforts of an international campaign to promote the adoption by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) of a Resolution that universally and explicitly bans FGM.

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L’interdiction universelle des mutilations génitales féminines est un objectif à portée de main
By LeSoir.be, 07 Mar 2012

En ce jour du 8 Mars, le monde entier célèbre la Journée internationale de la Femme, se réjouissant des succès remportés dans l’amélioration de la condition féminine tout au long de l’histoire et aux quatre coins de la planète. Cette date est également une occasion propice pour rappeler que de trop grandes lacunes entravent encore – parfois de manière brutale et cruelle – le processus vers la reconnaissance et la protection pleines et entières des droits des femmes en tant que droits humains universels.
Durant la dernière décennie, grâce au dévouement assidu de militants des droits des femmes et à l’engagement politique croissant des États affectés, il est vrai que des progrès significatifs et encourageants ont été réalisés. A ce jour, vingt pays africains ont adopté une législation nationale prohibant et pénalisant les MGF ; l’Union Africaine a pris une position ferme en condamnant cette pratique à travers son Protocole sur le droit de la femme en Afrique, qui interdit les MGF comme une violation des droits humains ; de nombreux gouvernements ont mis en œuvre des plans d’action nationaux qui informent et sensibilisent leur population sur les lois existantes, en particulier dans les zones rurales et reculées où ces pratiques sont les plus répandues.

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Syrian army advances in district east of Damascus-monitor
by Reuters, 13 Mar 2017

The Syrian army and its allies gained control of an arterial road in a small rebel pocket in northeast Damascus early on Monday, bringing them close to splitting the enclave in two, a Britain-based war monitor reported. The advance was along a road that links the besieged districts of Barza, al-Qaboun and Tishrin near the Eastern Ghouta area of towns and farms that spreads out from the Syrian capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Barza, Qaboun and Tishrin area had already been isolated from the main rebel enclave in Eastern Ghouta, a region that has witnessed increasing violence since the beginning of the year. There was also fighting overnight between the army and its allies and rebels in the southern city of Deraa and in areas near Aleppo in the northwest and Hama in the west accompanied by heavy bombardment and air strikes, the Observatory said. Syria's civil war pits President Bashar al-Assad backed by Russian air power, Iran and regional Shi'ite militias against mostly Sunni rebels that include jihadists as well as groups supported by the United States, Turkey and Gulf monarchies. The war has dragged in regional and global powers, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and sparked the worst refugee crisis since the second world war since it grew out of a mass uprising against Assad that began six years ago on Wednesday.

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Gambia: European Union Delegation Celebrates International Women's Day

 The European Union Delegation to the Gambia joined the international community to celebrate 8 March, International Women's Day at the Alliance Française in The Gambia with its development partners. The celebration took the form of a reception, speeches and drama on Female Genital Mutilation. It is a day designed to enable all women to reflect on their economic, political, socio -economic status and what the future holds for a woman.
Speaking on the day Madam Agnès Guillaud, Chargée d'Affaires a.i. Delegation of the European Union to The Gambia said "This day was first celebrated in 1911, over 100 years ago, and provides an important occasion to pay tribute to the economic, social, political and cultural achievements of women, but also to reflect on the inequalities that still need to be addressed."

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FGM in Canada: Call to inform doctors
By Desert Flower Foundation, 12 Mar 2012

 The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada insists that information about treating patients who have had female genital mutilation should be integrated into the new curriculum of medical schools. “So what that means for us as physicians in Canada is we´re kind of confronted with this kind of anatomical difference, and we need to know how to treat them”, stresses Margaret Burnett, chair of the social and sexual issues committee, in an interview last Tuesday.

The society first issued an official policy document against the practice in 1992. With this statement they want to remind members that FGM is a criminal offence in Canada, and reporting it to child welfare protection services is obligatory when it is suspected. Besides it should encourage doctors to counsel families against FGM and advocate for culturally competent support. “Education is very important. We need to emphasize that there´s no medical reason for this to be done”, explains Burnett.

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Liberia: Reporting On Genital Mutilation Draws Threats
By AllAfrica.com, 09 Mar 2012

 The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Liberian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists who have been repeatedly threatened for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in the country.
Mae Azango, a reporter for the daily FrontPage Africa and the news website New Narratives, told CPJ she had gone into hiding after receiving several threats for an article she published on Thursday about Liberian tribes practicing female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country. "They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up," Azango said. "I have not been sleeping in my house."

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Women and the Arab Spring: Taking their place?
By FIDH, 08 Mar 2012

 From Tunisia to Bahrain, from Egypt to Syria, women from all backgrounds came out in force to demand the right to democracy, social justice, freedom, dignity and equality. Women activists, bloggers and journalists, mobilised and informed the world what was happening. These uprisings, through the demands they generated, reasserted the universality of human rights.

This report pays homage to the women who struggle for freedom, equality and dignity. It takes a country-by-country look at the role played by women in the uprisings and underlines the obstacles that prevent them from playing their full part in the political and public life of their countries. It emphasises the importance of placing women's rights at the heart of the political process, in countries where dictators have been toppled and in those where people are still struggling to change regimes. We share the reactions, proposals, strategies and hopes of activists in the region, women and men, who continue tirelessly to fight discrimination.

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East African Community to legislate against FGM
By Stephen Ssenkaaba , 07 Mar 2012

 After the successful implementation of a law against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Uganda two years ago and in Kenya last year, plans are underway to implement a FGM law at a regional level, Dora Byamukama, a legislator at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member has said.
“One of the fundamental principles of the East African treaty is that member states observe human rights which include women’s rights. This principle also calls for legislation against harmful practices like FGM. In line with this principle, we have adopted a resolution urging East African partner states to legislate against FGM.”
She was recently speaking during the opening of activities to mark this year’s International Day of zero tolerance against FGM at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) offices in Kampala.

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Un projet de l'UE permet d'éviter la mutilation génitale à des milliers de fillettes africaines
By Afriquinfos, 07 Mar 2012

 Un projet innovant de l'Union européenne (UE) et de l'Unicef a permis à ce que les fillettes de milliers de communautés d'Egypte, d'Erythrée, d'Ethiopie, du Sénégal et du Soudan échappent à la mutilation génitale, a indiqué mardi la Commission européenne dans un communiqué, citant un rapport sur ce projet financé par l'UE qui a été publié peu avant la Journée internationale de la femme.
Bénéficiant d'un financement de l'UE à hauteur de 3,9 millions d'euros pour la période 2008-2012, le projet, qui met l'accent sur l'éducation et la sensibilisation, a contribué à faire évoluer les mentalités dans des milliers de familles, de nombreuses communautés et plusieurs pays afin que soit mis un terme aux pratiques traditionnelles préjudiciables comme la mutilation génitale féminine/l'excision (MGF/E) en Afrique, indique le communiqué.

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