INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION Developing a political, legal and social environment to implement the Maputo Protocol

Media coverage - Nairobi, 16-18 September 2004

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Conference seeks to 'break the myth' of FGM

September 14 2004 at 08:40PM -- Nairobi - A three-day international conference on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is to open in Nairobi on Thursday, Kenya Home Affairs Minister of State Linah Kilimo said on Tuesday.
Kilimo said the objective of the conference is to "break the myth" of the practice, review programme approaches and strengthen structures of implementing plans of action aimed at eradicating FGM.
The meeting, organised by the Kenyan government in collaboration with a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), is a follow-up of a conference held in Cairo in 2003 and expects to review progress made in implicating a protocol adopted last year, aimed at eradicating the gruesome practice.
The Maputo Protocol on the rights of women in Africa was adopted on July 11, 2003 by 53 African Union (AU) heads of state. It bans FGM and requires ratification by 15 AU states to come into force, but only three - Comoros, Libya and Rwanda - have so far formally ratified it.
"The conference aims at improving awareness of FGM and finding solutions to eliminate the practice through ratification and implementation of the Maputo Protocol," Gianfranco Dell'alba, secretary general of No Peace Without Justice, one of the NGOs organising the conference, said.
Over 400 participants, including government officials, communities practicing FGM, NGOs, political leaders, religious leaders, researchers and UN agencies, will take part in the conference.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), "there are now between 120 and 130 million women around the world who have suffered due to FGM. Every year, two million girls and young women are subjected to this practice that still survives despite the measures taken in many countries involved to try to eliminate it."
"FGM is practiced in at least 27 African countries," Kilimo pointed out. - Sapa-AFP []

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