Press release | Date: 08/08/2007| No: 90/07
International Development Minister Erik Solheim announced 8 August that Norway will contribute NOK 20 million (appr. USD 3,5 million) to a fund to protect girls against genital mutilation in 16 countries. The fund has recently been established by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
International Development Minister Erik Solheim announced today that Norway will contribute NOK 20 million (appr. USD 3,5 million) to a fund to protect girls against genital mutilation in 16 countries. The fund has recently been established by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“Female genital mutilation is a brutal violation of women’s and children’s fundamental human rights. According to the World Health Organization, some 6 000 girls are circumcised a day. Fighting this practice will strengthen the position of women and girls, improve maternal health and reduce child mortality,” said Mr Solheim, when he and State Secretary Kjell Erik Øie from The Ministry of Children and Equality were speaking to NGOs and the press on Norway’s efforts to fight female genital mutilation both in Norway and internationally.
Through its support to the fund, Norway will contribute to dialogue with local and national authorities and religious leaders, to mobilisation of the media, and to local activities, research and capacity-building.
“Legal protection against female genital mutilation is important, but experience shows that this alone is not enough. Dialogue on this issue needs to be encouraged in local communities, with a view to changing attitudes, and eventually traditions. A significant part of our international work will therefore continue to be channelled through local organisations,” Mr Solheim said.
This contribution to the UN fund entails a doubling of Norway’s international efforts to fight female genital mutiliation.
“The latest report from Norad (The Norwegian Agency for Development) shows that these efforts are working. The number of girls circumcised has fallen in Tanzania and Kenya, and to some extent also in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Our international efforts will also help to reduce this practice in Norway,” Mr Solheim added.
More information about the Norad report can be found on Norad’s website www.norad.no.
Information Adviser Wera Helstrøm, tel.: +47 99 40 93 23