Countries urged to eliminate harmful practices on women and girls

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Three young women patients wait to check-in for treatment, under a tent in the compound of the Fistula Unit of Zalingei Hospital in Sudan. UN Photo/Fred Noy

Governments around the world are being urged by two United Nations human rights committees to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Wednesday released their Joint General Recommendation on the issue.

They identify such harmful practices as female genital mutilation, so-called honour crimes, forced and child marriage, as well as polygamy.

Other harmful practices highlighted in the document include virginity testing, binding, widowhood practices, infanticide, and body modifications including fattening, neck elongation and breast ironing.

The committees also pay attention to practices such as women and girls undergoing plastic surgery to conform to social norms of beauty.

They call for appropriate legislation, political will and accountability, to tackle the practices.

It is the first time that the two UN human rights committees have joined forces to issue a comprehensive interpretation of the obligations of States to prevent and eliminate harmful practices inflicted on women and girls.

It has been released to mark the 35th anniversary of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 25th anniversary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Stephanie Castro, United Nations

Duration:  1’14″

 

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