Belgium steps up fight against female genital mutilation

Belgium steps up fight against female genital mutilation

Belgium will invest an additional €3 million in the next three years to combat female genital mutilation, reports De Morgen.

The funds will go to a special Unicef programme and the UNFPA, a UN department dedicated to fighting gender-based violence, announced Minister of Development Cooperation Frank Vandenbroucke on Thursday 25 November, a day marking the International Day for the Elimination of  Violence against Women.

"Our country is helping to ban genital mutilation as quickly as possible," said Vandenbroucke. "The fight against violence against women is a priority for the Belgian development cooperation. Because violence against girls and women is unacceptable. Here. Everywhere. Always."

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The investment comes on top of the €36 million that Belgium contributes to the UNFPA running from 2021-2024. The UNFPA has helped over half a million women and girls that have been victims of female genital mutilation, with counselling and legal help.

Belgium is also set to invest €500,000 in a Global Survivors Fund in 2022 and 2023. The organisation helps out victims of sexual violence in areas of conflict and was founded by Congolese doctor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dennis Mukwege. A further €500,000 will go to the fund's operations in Ukraine.

Around 200 million women and girls globally are victims of female genital mutilation. There are approximately 500,000 victims in Europe. 35,000 women and girls in Belgium have been or are at risk of female genital mutilation, according to a study commissioned by the Federal Government this summer.

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