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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: Significance, Theme and History

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is celebrated every year on 6th February


 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an annual awareness day that takes place every year on February 6 as part of the United Nation’s efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation. The UN-sponsored annual awareness day was first observed in 2003. Some people call it a movement for the rights of women and their bodies, as well as the protection of their physical health. It is an effort to benefit actions across the globe fighting violence against women and girls as a whole.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) comprises all methods that involve injuring or altering the female genitalia for non-medical reasons.  FGM is considered a violation of human rights, health and integrity of girls and women internationally.

FGM leads to short-term complications such as severe pain, infections, excessive bleeding, shock and difficulty in passing urine, as well as long-term consequences for their sexual, mental health and reproductive health.

Female Genital Mutilation is primarily concentrated in 30 countries in the Middle East and Africa. Although, it is also practised in some countries of Asia and Latin America. It continues to persist amongst immigrant populations living in North America, Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

UN on its official page says that coordinated and systematic efforts are needed to promote the elimination of female genital mutilation by engaging whole communities focusing on sexual education, gender equality and attention to the needs of girls and women who suffer from its consequences.

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The theme for International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 2020:

United Nations has designated “Unleashing Youth Power: One decade if accelerating actions for zero female genital” as the theme for the year 2020. To end the FGM in one decade, it will require support from each and every quarter. Looking at significant population growth, especially among youth, it becomes very important to invest in young people. That is why International Day will focus on using the young people around the eliminations of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation under the theme Unleashing Youth Power.

United Nation has planned to eradicate the practice of FGM totally by 2030, following the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal 5.  UNFPA along with UNICEF leads the largest global programme to accelerate the eradication of female genital mutilation. Currently, the program focuses on 17 countries in the Middle East & Africa and also supports global and regional initiatives.

The duo of UNFPA and UNICEF have achieved significant achievements including the support to 3.3 million girls and women supported by the Joint Programme related to female genital mutilation-related protection and care services. With their efforts, 13 countries have established legal frameworks for banning FGM and have established national budget lines funding programmes to address it.

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