Orange Day in China organized by UN Women
and Titan Media Photos: Wu Xiaohan, Titan Media
End Female Genital Mutilation
In July 2012 the Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign’s Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.
In 2013, the UNiTE campaign focused its Orange Days on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), focused on the theme of the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Orange Day highlighted issues including safe schools, safe work places and cyber space as a safe space for women and girls. Activities culminated in a call to ‘Orange the World in 16 Days’ from November 25 and throughout the 16 Days of Activism. The Call resulted in ‘orange activities’ in over 50 countries and over 76 million people being reached through social media. This month, UNiTE #Orangeday will focus on an issue that affects millions of women and girls worldwide – female genital mutilation.
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILIATION – THE ISSUE
Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It has been reported to take place in all regions of the world though is prevalent in the western, eastern and north-eastern regions of Africa, some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among certain immigrant communities in North America and Europe. In nearly all countries where FGM/C is concentrated, traditional practitioners perform most of the procedures. It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk, and some 125 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide.
FGM/C is a violation of the human rights of women and girls, and is carried out for a mix of cultural, religious and social reasons. It has no health benefits, though harms girls and women in many ways. Health consequences include pain, infection, incontinence and complications during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to health risks, it may have social, emotional, legal and economic repercussions. For more information about FGM/C and a global overview, see UNICEF’s report Female Genital Mutiliation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change.
International interventions to end FGM/C
Recent years have seen various developments at the international level. In 2008, ten UN agencies came together to issue an interagency statement to declare intent and support efforts for the elimination of FGM/C. In 2012, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 67/146 aimed to intensify global efforts for elimination of female genital mutilations. It called upon States to take a number of measures including enhancing awareness-raising efforts and the engagement of keys actors, including healthcare providers, teachers, community leaders and religious leaders, and girls and boys, to revise school curricula to include programmes of zero tolerance for violence against women including FGM/C, and to create national action plans and strategies to end FGM/C.
UN Agencies UNFPA and UNICEF work together on a Joint Programme on FGM/C, which uses a human rights-based approach to encourage communities to act collectively to end FGM/C. Other UN agencies, such as UN Women, have programmes on the ground to raise awareness and support survivors.
Progress towards elimination
Years of prevention work by local communities, non-governmental organizations, governments and others have contributed to a reduction in the prevalence of FGM/C in some areas. There is greater awareness of the FGM/C, human rights monitoring bodies and international resolutions have condemned the practice, and political support for ending FGM/C is growing. Lessons learned from previous interventions suggest that strategies that are long term, community-led, and engage a broad base of stakeholders can significantly reduce FGM/C.
ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES (25th March)
What can you do?
- Wear orange on 25 March and say NO to FGM/C through your social media networks. Share your photos and messages with us at https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and https://twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE
- Learn more about FGM/C. Read the World Health Organization factsheet and the Factsheet on FGM from Voices against Violence, a curriculum for young people developed by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and UN Women Share them with friends and partner organizations.
- Join the conversation. Does FGM/C happen in your country? What measures are being taken to end it? What strategies do you think work? https://www.facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES
This #OrangeDay – 25 March, #UNiTE says #endFGM. I’m wearing orange to show support. http://ow.ly/uN7wW via @SayNO_UNiTE
Today is #UNiTE #OrangeDay! Up to 30 million girls under 15 are at risk. #endFGM http://ow.ly/uN7wW via @SayNO_UNiTE
25 March is #OrangeDay! #UNiTE says it’s time to put an end to FGM. Wear orange if you agree. http://ow.ly/uN7wW via @SayNO_UNiTE
#Iwearorangebecause #FGM is a #humanrights violation. On #OrangeDay #UNiTE & spread the word. http://ow.ly/uN7wW via @SayNO_UNiTE
25 March is #OrangeDay! How do we end #FGM? What do you think works? Join the conversation with @SayNO_UNiTE: http://ow.ly/uN8Nh
Did you know that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 years of age are at risk of female genital mutilation? Today – 25 March – is #UNiTE campaign’s #OrangeDay. It’s time to #endFGM. Join us! http://ow.ly/uN7wW
This month, #OrangeDay is focusing on female genital mutilation (#FGM). Does FGM happen in your country? How do you think we can eliminate it? Learn more: http://ow.ly/uN7wW. Join the conversation here.
On #OrangeDay – 25 March, wear orange and say NO to #FGM. Spread the word to raise awareness of FGM amongst young people you know. http://ow.ly/uN7wW
There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.
SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON