Finland supports work against female genital mutilation

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 12.11.2015 13.30
Press release 247/2015

Finland will contribute EUR 300,000 in 2015–2017 to the Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), implemented by the UN Children's Fund UNICEF and the UN Population Fund UNFPA. The joint programme aims to prevent the practice of cutting girls' and women's genitalia.

"The promotion of women's and girls' rights is  one of the priorities of Finland's development policy," emphasizes Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka. "The programme's beneficiaries include especially women and girls in communities where female genital mutilation is practiced. The programme benefits the entire community, too, because healthy girls and women play a big role in the wellbeing of their families and future children.

The programme aims to make genital mutilation an unacceptable practice. It includes national actions in 17 countries in Africa and the Middle East as well as international cooperation. The actions at the national level include the promotion of legislation against the practice of FGM/C and monitoring of the enforcement of existing laws.

The programme also supports practical actions, which help in addressing the FGM/C and its consequences in sexual and reproductive health services, child protection, prevention of violence against women, and public social protection systems. Communication plays an important role because the decision-makers often believe that FGM/C is accepted by the citizens.

Female genital mutilation forms a serious violation against women's and girls' human rights and causes loss of life and lifelong suffering. It is estimated that over 125 million women and girls in the world have suffered genital mutilation or cutting.

Finnish development cooperation has promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights for several decades. The promotion of human rights is a central principle in Finland's development policy.

For more information about the programme, please visit the UNFPA website.

Inquiries: Gisela Blumenthal, Senior Adviser, Unit for Sectoral Policy, Department for Development Policy, tel. +358 295 350 958, and Juha Kirstilä, Special Adviser to Minister Toivakka, tel. +358 40 552 8200.