UN Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (6 February)

Female Genital Mutilation is a terrible human rights violation that affects the health and wellbeing of millions of women and girls around the world.  

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the numbers of girls at risk of this horrific practice. Lockdowns and school closures have left girls highly vulnerable to harm of all kinds, and have hindered efforts to end harmful practices, including FGM.  

Without urgent action, two million more girls could be at risk of FGM between now and 2030 – in addition to the 4 million girls already at risk each year.  

I urge all governments, policy makers, civil society organizations and others to prioritize addressing female genital mutilation in their national COVID-19 responses. FGM is both a form of gender-based violence and a child protection issue. 

If we are to meet our global target of eliminating FGM by 2030, we need to increase the rate of progress tenfold. This will require some $2.4 billion over the next decade. But the cost of inaction is far higher. Ending FGM is essential to ending violence of all kinds against women and girls and achieving gender equality.  

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we raise our voices to say, “Enough!”  

We have no time to waste. Let’s UNITE, FUND and ACT to end female genital mutilation by 2030.