Africa: 2 Million Additional Cases of Female Genital Mutilation Likely to Occur Over Next Decade Due to Covid-19


New York — Only united, concerted and well-funded action can end this human rights violation

Joint Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

“Two million additional cases of female genital mutilation may occur over the next decade as COVID-19 shutters schools and disrupts programmes that help protect girls from this harmful practice.

“We must act now to stop this from happening.

“Even before COVID-19 upended progress, the Sustainable Development Goals target of ending female genital mutilation by 2030 was an ambitious commitment.

“Far from dampening our ambition, however, the pandemic has sharpened our resolve to protect the 4 million girls and women who are at risk of female genital mutilation each year. Here’s how.

“We must unite. Ending female genital mutilation requires collaboration among a wide group of stakeholders. This includes global, regional, national and local policymakers; civil society from small grass-roots organizations and women’s rights groups to international non-governmental organizations; agents of change from teachers and health workers to religious leaders and local elders; as well as law enforcement and judicial officials. Men and boys also have a crucial role to play. Together, let us also amplify the powerful and persuasive voices of survivors who are increasingly leading transformative change in their communities.