By Stop FGM Middle East, February 5th, 2015.
On the fifth official International Day of Zero Tolerance to female genital mutilation (FGM), the campaign against FGM in Iraq is taking up speed and with its comprehensive approach already yielding great successes. Newest data shows: FGM can be eradicated in one generation. According to a KAP-Study by Unicef 72% of respondents in Northern Iraq say they do not support FGM at all. Formerly, FGM was practiced by more than 70% of the population.
This is encouraging data from the only Asian country where a large-scale campaign against FGM has been launched. However, FGM in other Asian countries is still neglected in the world-wide battle. The practice is widespread in Indonesia and Malaysia, it exists in Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Singapore. In several countries of the Arabian peninsula FGM is practiced: in Oman by relevant parts of the population, in the United Emirates, Saudi Arabia und Kuwait immigrants are highly effected, but probably also small parts of the local population.
These countries need to make an effort to fight FGM among their population. We call upon Malaysia, where the practice is legally carried out in hospitals, to ban FGM and initiate a strong campaign against it. We call on Indonesia to clarify its regulations clearly banning every form of FGM. We call on international organizations to make FGM in Asia a topic and a focal point of campaigns.
WADI and Hivos efforts to bring FGM in Asia on the agenda
The Stop FGM Middle East campaign by WADI and Hivos was successful in building a network of activists from different Asian countries and support a number of local projects. In Iran, a debate in society has started, several studies were conducted and a dialogue with authorities is underway. It was also possible to collect a number of statements by religious figures both from Sunni and Shia background condemning FGM.
Among international organizations a rethinking-process has started. In Northern Iraq, Unicef Iraq has become WADI’s partner in a large-scale campaign against the practice. We are proud to present on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM the newest television-clips encouraging agency against FGM and informing viewers on the health risks of FGM and the religious position against it which will be shown regularly on Kurdish television:
Information makes a difference
Also on the global level, progress is noticeable. According to Unicef, the next multi-cluster survey (MICS) in Oman will include questions about FGM. Formerly, data was mainly collected in Africa. Activists need such data to support their demands; governments won’t act without it. Thus, including questions on FGM in Oman in this large-scale UN monitored survey is a relevant step in the right direction.
Zero Tolerance Events in Iraq, Germany, Switzerland and France
On February 8th, WADI and Unicef will present their common campaign against FGM in Northern Iraq in the Kurdish Regional Parliament in Erbil, Iraq. This includes speeches by Falah Murad Khan from WADI, the presentation of four new TV-clips against FGM and the honoring of Dr. Marzio from Unicef. As a guest speaker the Iranian researcher Rayehe Mozafarian will talk about FGM in Iran. Opening addresses will be held by Evar Ibrahim, the head of the women’s committee in parliament, Paxshan Zangana from the High Council of Women’s Affairs and a representative from the Italian embassy. As a closing ceremony two champions in the battle against FGM from the FGM-Free Village of Totaqal will be honored. The event is organized in cooperation with the Kurdish regional parliament and the High Council of Women’s Affairs in the KRG.
On Febuary 6th, Oliver Piecha from the Stop FGM Middle East Campaign will present the case of Iraqi Kurdistan and FGM in Asia at a three-day conference on FGM of the Global alliance against Female Genital Mutilation in Geneva (Switzerland).
On Febuary 6th, Hannah Wettig from the Stop FGM Middle East Campaign will speak about “Breaking the Silence: From a taboo to a broad campaign” as part of a three-day program about FGM at the University of Göttingen (Germany).
On Febuary 7th, Arvid Vormann from WADI will present the film „A handful of Ash“ about FGM in the Iraqi Kurdish region in Paris (France) at the occasion of a full day event organized by GAMS, Espoirs et Combat de Femmes and Osez le feminism.
Note for the press:
For more information and suggestions for sources and speakers on the 6th of February, please contact the sender; see contact details below.