OSCE/ODIHR Director Link urges states to recognize serious harm female genital mutilation does to both women and societies at large

WARSAW, 5 February 2016 – Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today called on OSCE participating States to strengthen their responses to female genital mutilation as a form of violence against girls and women.

“In September 2015, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, the 193 Member States, including OSCE participating States, unanimously agreed on the goal of eliminating female genital mutilation by 2030,” Director Link said. “Today, ahead of tomorrow’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, as on every other day, states have to be conscious of their obligation to work systematically to eradicate female genital mutilation, a form of violence used to harm women, both psychologically and physically, and to embed patriarchy.”

While welcoming the measures many participating States have already introduced in their legal and policy frameworks to prevent and combat female genital mutilation, the ODIHR Director said that more work should be done by governments to ensure their frameworks are in complete compliance with international standards and OSCE commitments in this field.

“Participating States need to take a holistic approach to the problem, not only through efforts to prevent the practice, but also to raise awareness among both women and men of its horrible effects, to provide medical and psychological assistance to victims, and to facilitate the sharing of effective practices in combating these cruel acts,” Director Link said.

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
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