Human Rights Commissioner on the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation

05.02.2014 - Press release

Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (5 February) on tomorrow’s International Day against Female Genital Mutilation:

140 million women and girls around the world are victims of female genital mutilation. This brutal practice cannot be justified on either cultural or social grounds. It is and remains a serious human rights violation. It deprives women and girls of their rights not only with regard to health and physical integrity, but also self-determination and liberty.

I am strongly committed to the elimination of female genital mutilation worldwide and to supporting those countries which have already taken up the fight against this practice. We need to work closely with governments and civil society on the ground. Together we can come up with constructive approaches aimed at eliminating this inhumane practice. It is important to address this taboo openly, for it is not enough to penalise female genital mutilation: we must above all launch a public debate on the issue. I would like to use the occasion the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation offers to express my great respect for all the human rights defenders who fight against this practice day in, day out. Thank you for your dedicated work.


According to the UN World Health Organisation, 140 million women and girls around the world were living with the consequences of female genital mutilation in 2013.

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