Inter-Parliamentary UnionIPU Logo-top
    Press ReleaseIPU Logo-middle
No.213, Geneva, 1 December 2005 IPU Logo-bottom


Every year, nearly 3 million girls and women are subjected to female genital mutilation. This happens not only in Africa, where the tradition is most rooted, but also in some host countries. In the words of Mr. Pier Ferdinando Casini, the President of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and also President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, "it is crucial for parliamentarians to undertake to bring this practice to an end, working with traditional and religious leaders, government organizations, non-governmental organizations, medical staff and the parents of the girls who are victims of this practice".

It is essential to have a joint effort by all those who are active in this field. To raise awareness, educate and work together with the countries concerned by this age-old tradition - which is not justified in any religious texts - the African Parliamentary Union (APU) and the National Assembly of Senegal, working with the IPU and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), are holding an African parliamentary conference in Dakar on 4 and 5 December 2005 on violence against women and the abandonment of female genital mutilation.

This conference will emphasize the means to eradicate this practice, which according to UNICEF statistics, has mutilated over 130 million women in the world and continues, on average, to mutilate one girl every 15 seconds, causing horrible suffering. According to the Secretary General of the IPU, Anders B. Johnsson, "While adopting a law against female genital mutilation is an important first step, overseeing its implementation is just as important, as are appropriate budgets and a dialogue with communities, to change mentalities. All of these questions are the responsibility of parliamentarians."

This event will include participation by representatives of African parliaments, including the countries most concerned, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Somalia, South Africa and Togo, along with religious and traditional leaders, a representative of Al-Azhar University in Egypt and the Guinean singer, Mory Kanté, who is a goodwill ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPU, the oldest multilateral political organisation, currently brings together 143 affiliated parliaments and seven regional assemblies as associate members. The world organisation of parliaments has an Office in New York, which acts as its Permanent Observer at the United Nations.
Other press releases Version française de ce communiqué de presse More information

Contact for additional information or interviews:
In Geneva: Mrs. Luisa Ballin, IPU Information Officer
5, ch. du Pommier, CH - 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex / Geneva
Tel. +41 22 919 41 16/27
Fax: +41 22 919 41 60
E-mail: or

In Dakar: Mrs. Kareen Jabre, Programme Manager, IPU Programme for Partnership between Men and Women.
Tel. (mobile) +41 79 419 4130
E-mail: or