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Statement by UNFPA Somalia Representative Mr. Anders Thomsen on the launch of State of World Population 2020 report

Mogadishu, 30 June 2020 – The launch today of UNFPA’s annual flagship report; the State of World Population 2020: “Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality” presents an opportunity to call on the Government of Somalia to act expeditiously to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across the country.

Somalia is one of the countries in the world with the highest prevalence of FGM. The recently-launched Somali Health and Demographic Survey (SHDS) indicates a prevalence of 99 percent among women and girls aged 15 to 49 years. Somalia continues to lack critical legislative framework to end FGM due to weak political will and the lack of consensus among key religious groups for zero tolerance for FGM.

Recently media reports have revealed that the school closures during the COVID-19 epidemic have exposed girls to an inordinately high risk of FGM.  The lockdown has been seen as an opportune time for the procedure to be carried out in the home with ample time for healing.  In addition, increased economic hardship as a result of COVID19 encourages FGM traditional practitioners to seek out clientele by knocking door-to-door to cut girls.

Across Somalia, many champions are working tirelessly to ensure the abandonment of FGM. UNFPA stands with these champions. However, it is also important that the Government of Somalia takes concrete actions to ensure that FGM is prohibited to ensure that women and girls are protected from this harmful practice that undermines their health and well-being.

UNFPA continues to work to ensure that every woman and girl in Somalia is able to realize her full potential.

 

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UNFPA inquiries: please contact Ms. Pilirani Semu-Banda, Communications and Partnerships Specialist, UNFPA Somalia, Tel: +254 734500439; semu-banda@unfpa.org