ROME, Italy, February 5, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Our goal is a complete ban on this cruel practice in the shortest time possible […] Although there are obstacles, the results so far have been encouraging”. The point was underscored by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, at the close of an event on the topic of female genital mutilation. Promoted by “Non c’è pace senza giustizia”, a non-governmental organisation, the discussion took place at the Foreign Ministry in Rome.
Italy is the lead western country in combating FMG
The first western country, back in the 1980s, to embark on a campaign to end this practice, Italy so-sponsored the United Nations Resolution for a ban on FMG that was approved in December 2012. Terzi pointed out that the practice affects not just Africa but Europe and Italy too.
140 million victims
Many obstacles still remain – 140 million girls worldwide are victims of the practice – but the numbers of countries halting FMG is growing. “9775 communities, from 15 countries” abandoned the practice in 2012, as Terzi pointed out, thanks to the UNFPA/UNICEF programme to which Italy also provides funding, which has been renewed for this year. Now, added Terzi, “we need to ensure that we don’t waste the ‘credibility capital’ we have built up, the alliances we have forged or the experience gained”.