High Level Side Event “Intensifying Global Efforts for Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation”

United Nations General Assembly, New York, 25 September 2012

No Peace Without Justice, together with its partners in the International NGO Coalition to Ban FGM Worldwide, congratulates the Missions of Burkina Faso and Benin to the United Nations for the success of the High Level Side Event “Intensifying Global Efforts for Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation” organized yesterday, on the eve of the opening of the General Debate of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 
The event, attended by over 150 participants, among whom First Ladies, Ministers, Ambassadors and the representatives of UN Agencies and civil society, underscored the importance given to combating FGM by an ever-widening group of States.

In addition to Mrs. Chantal Compaore, First Lady of Burkina Faso and Mrs. Chantal de Souza Yayi, First Lady of Benin, who co-presided the event, three other First Ladies also took the floor: Mrs. Hadidja Aboubacar, First Lady of Comores, Mrs. Elsie Christofias, First Lady of Cyprus and Mrs. Antoinette Sassou N'Guesso, First Lady of Congo, all of whom stressed the pivotal role of the United Nations General Assembly in showing political will to bring the battle against FGM to the highest of levels and intensify the global effort for its elimination.  

Other speakers included Ms. Yoka Brandt, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; Mr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, Ms. Saraswathi Menon, Director of Policy Division, UNWomen, and the Italian Under-secretaries of State Marta Dassu and Staffan De Mistura as well as the Permanent Representative of Eritrea to the United Nations. 

Emma Bonino, vice-president of the Italian Senate and founder of No peace Without Justice, concluded the session highlighting that FGM is a global issue that affects not only the daily lives of women and girls on the African continent but the rights of women worldwide, and that the response must be a holistic and comprehensive Resolution that bans FGM worldwide, providing the political support to all those who fight to put an end to the practice, and be a real tool for change.
Ban FGM Campaign
Over the past years, the members of the Ban FGM Coalition have collaborated on several initiatives to raise awareness internationally about the need for a UNGA Resolution banning this human rights violation, gathering the support of human rights activists, women’s organizations, parliamentarians and government representatives from throughout Africa and Europe.
Tangible momentum towards a Resolution has been gathering speed over this past year. A key step in the process was the July 2011 Decision by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in support of a Resolution by the General Assembly. The African Group at the UN took action to implement the will of the Heads of State by introducing a Decision at the Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March 2012, recommending that the issue of FGM, until now discussed only within the context of the CSW, be formally considered by the General Assembly under the agenda item “Advancement of Women”. In July 2012, the ECOSOC supported the CSW recommendation and requested that the issue of female genital mutilation be added to the agenda of the 67th General Assembly.
 For more information, contact Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the FGM Program, on ajablonko@npwj.org / phone: +32 494 533 915 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 (0)2 548-39 15.