Statement by Minister Bibeau on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

February 6, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today issued the following statement:

“Female genital mutilation, also known as ‘female genital cutting’ or ‘female circumcision,’ is an abhorrent practice typically carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. It can cause serious health issues, including cysts, severe bleeding, infections that sometimes lead to death, infertility and psychological trauma. This practice has no basis in medical science, yet more than 125 million girls and women today, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, have been affected.

“Canada strongly condemns female genital mutilation and other harmful practices that threaten the well-being of women and girls and abuse their human rights. In Canada, female genital mutilation is a form of violence and a criminal offence. Globally, our government is committed to fighting this practice by working with UN agencies and other countries and by supporting projects that address violence against women and girls.

“Our work is in line with this government’s commitment to refocus Canada’s official development assistance on the poorest and most vulnerable. It also supports our efforts to help implement the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 3, on health; Goal 4, on education; and Goal 5, on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Furthermore, through Canada’s Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit, we have enhanced our capacity to provide consular services to Canadian girls who travel back to their native countries and might be subjected to female genital mutilation.

“On this day, we recommit ourselves to ending this violent practice and to supporting affected communities who are bravely speaking out for change. Canada will continue to advocate for policy and legal reforms that support gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and respect for their human rights.”


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