Regional conference on eliminating child marriage, FGM in Africa kicks off in Cairo


Wed, 19 Jun 2019 - 04:05 GMT

Such harmful practices are considered betrayal by parents towards the future and safety of their daughters - Press photo

Such harmful practices are considered betrayal by parents towards the future and safety of their daughters - Press photo

CAIRO – 19 June 2019: Under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a regional conference on eliminating child marriage and female genital mutilation kicked off on Wednesday.

The conference is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Council for Women (NCW), the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) and the African Union, in collaboration with the European Union, UN organizations and Plan International Egypt.

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During her key speech, President of the National Council for Women (NCW), Maya Morsy, said Egypt is following a lead to empower women with the necessary information, skills and support.

She also stressed that Egypt is strenuously working on raising the awareness and educating societies on the importance of supporting women by providing them with education opportunities and ending accustomed practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Morsy said parents should be aware that through these practices, they betray their daughters’ right to be safe and secure, pointing out that FGM leads to cutting vital parts of female bodies, causing a lot of health complications and physiological problems later on.

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As for child marriage, head of the NCW said parents steal their daughters’ simplest rights of enjoying a happy innocent childhood, receiving education and gaining skills and experiences that allow them to find proper job opportunities, not to mention that such practices could end their lives.

She further affirmed that African women represent 60 percent of the African continent, thus failing to empower them means that more than half of the continent will not be able to keep up with African development.

“Morsy further stressed that Egyptian women are lucky to have a political will that believes and supports women and childhood,” Morsy added.

Clarifying that change in any negative practice in any society takes many years, Morsy said that state institutions, civil society organizations, media outlets and religious speech must collaborate efforts to raise awareness against such dangerous practices.

She also added that a national committee has already kicked of the first stage of an awareness campaign with the slogan “Protect Her from FGM” across Egypt via TV and Radio reports, awareness campaigns, and convoys.

“We have a responsibility to provide our daughters with an environment empty of violence,” Morsy said. “Educate a girl, empower her, and she will empower a whole nation.”

For his part, Ambassador Ahmed Ihab, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Human Rights and International Humanitarian and Social Affairs, has affirmed that the conference comes in line with Egypt’s 2030 Vision, which also seeks to eliminate child marriage and FGM as key factors to achieving sustainable development.

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The ambassador also pointed out that various United Nations resolutions defined these practices as violations of human rights and have a disproportionate negative impact on girls.

He further added that that the African continent was the first to address these two practices and the need to eliminate them in its agenda of 2063, aiming to eliminate child marriage and FGM.

Moreover, Azza El Ashmawy, secretary general of NCCM, in her speech affirmed that Egypt is proud to be the heart of Africa, seeking to promote successful experiences and programs among countries of the continent in various fields.

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She also added that despite grave challenges, wills and experiences will be able to change such devious practices to provide protection to females while empowering them with the proper growth circumstances, pointing out that Egypt has already went a long way in this direction, thanks to a sincere political will and vision.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka published a video on the conference; “I am glad that you are gathering in Cairo for this important subject of eliminating harmful practices to women and girls like early enforced marriages and FGM,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said. “I am also proud that in this gathering we have the leadership of Egypt who is also the president of the African Union, giving us direction in supporting the progress that we should be making in the continent.

“We are encouraged by the anxious participation of young people, different governments and professionals, religious leaders, who especially in Egypt have been giving us a lot of support. The UN system are truly appreciative of the support you have been giving us. I hope everything goes well and we are looking forward to your recommendations and we are committed to make sure we implement the recommendations, so before 2030, we have made significant progress on the elimination of FGM and enforced marriages all over the continent, and also in the world.”



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