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FGM and International Law

Reader comment on item: Female Genital Mutilation: A Guide to Laws and Policies Worldwide

Submitted by Mohamed Hashi Dhorre Habargidir eyr (Kenya), Apr 3, 2010 at 01:38

  • States are obligated under international law to prevent, investigate, and punish violence against women. Out of the twenty-eight African countries that practice FGM, twenty-six have ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
  • The UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women recognizes that violence against women not only deprives them of their civil and political rights, but also their social and economic rights, saying that, "the underlying structural consequences of these forms of gender-based violence help to maintain women in their subordinate roles, contribute to their low level of participation and to their lower level of education, skills, and work opportunities." The Declaration provides that states should not invoke any custom, tradition, or religious consideration to avoid their obligation to eliminate violence against women, and that they must exhibit due diligence in investigating and imposing penalties for violence, and establishing effective protective measures.
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