President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announces historic day to eliminate female genital cutting

In the wake of the international uproar prompted by death threats against NN Country Manager Mae Azango, the Liberian government has taken the unprecedented step of announcing February 6 will be “Intensifying Efforts for Elimination of Female Genital Cutting” Day.

Before the breakthrough reporting by Azango in FrontPage Africa and NN fellow Tetee Gebro for SkyFM in 2012, no government figures in Liberia had dared address the taboo practice, part of initiation ceremonies by secret traditional societies in 10 of Liberia’s 16 tribes. After an international campaign led by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Amnesty International and Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times demanding Azango’s safety, the Liberian government made its first public statement condemning the practice and announcing a shutdown of the traditional societies.

The government has since threatened to prosecute anyone found practicing FGC.

Today’s statement promises a complete package to tackle the issue including an education campaign and economic opportunities for traditional women whose livelihoods depend on the practice.

See the statement here and below.

Monrovia – The President of the Republic Liberia, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by Proclamation declared Wednesday, February 6, 2013, as a day of “Intensifying Global Efforts for The Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation” to be observed throughout Liberia as a working holiday.

The Proclamation further urges all ministries and agencies of government, local and international organizations and the general public to join the Liberian National Association on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (NATPAH) in collaboration with the Awareness Action Groups (AAG’s) and women organizations to plan and execute appropriate programs befitting the occasion.

This year’s commemoration of “Zero Tolerance” of FGM will be celebrated under the global theme: “Intensifying Global Efforts for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation”, while the event will be celebrated locally under the theme: “*Intensifying National Efforts For The Elimination Of Female Genital Mutilation and Harmful Traditional Practices”. *

The Proclamation notes that NATPAL was founded for the promotion of gender equality and to contribute to the improvement of health status, social economic political, human rights and quality of life of women and children through the elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices (HTP’s).

According to the Proclamation, the organizers and supporters of Zero Tolerances on FGM on the African continent considered such practice as unacceptable, barbaric, inhumane, traumatizing and a practice that continues to create agony in the life of women in Africa and the world.

According to the Proclamation, the organizers and supporters of Zero Tolerances on FGM on the African continent considered such practice as unacceptable, barbaric, inhumane, traumatizing and a practice that
continues to create agony in the life of women in Africa and the world.

According to the release, an international conference on FGM was held from February 4 to 6, 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and attended by representatives from 49 countries including the first ladies of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Nigeria as well as parliamentarians, African Union and other international organizations.

 

 

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