HRC46: Statement on UPR outcome of the Maldives

March 24, 2021 ARROW’s Intervention (5)

This  joint statement by ARROW and the Asia Network to End Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C) was broadcasted at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council UPR Outcome Session for Maldives. Watch the video statement here.

Thank You Chair.

I am Keshia Mahmood, from the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW). I am making this statement on behalf of Hope for Women, Maldives and the Asia Network to End Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting (FGM/C).

We welcome the Maldives’ acceptance of all received recommendations relating to all forms of female genital mutilation. In 2019, the Maldives became one of only two Asian states to report nationally representative data on the prevalence of female genital mutilation, including the practice of pricking or cutting of the clitoris, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5.3.2. This revealed that 13% of girls and women aged 15-49 are circumcised[1]. We strongly commend the leadership shown by the Maldives and encourage other States across Asia to follow their example. We also welcome the attention shown to this important issue by the Bahamas, Fiji, Italy, Japan and Peru.

Whilst this is an important step towards ending female genital mutilation, acceleration of progress is required to fully address the drivers of this practice and its impacts on the rights of all women and girls.

We call on the Maldives to take the following actions:

  • Enact legislation prohibiting all forms of female genital mutilation, including when carried out by health professionals, in line with CEDAW and CRC recommendations, sending a clear message that the practice is a violation of the human rights of all women and girls.
  • Urgently develop a fully costed, evidence-based, national action plan to end female genital mutilation with a focus on community-based programming and a multi-sectoral approach that is accessible, non-judgemental, rights-based and addresses harmful social and gender norms.
  • Consult and engage religious leaders, scholars and institutions to issue rulings or fatwas against all forms of female genital mutilation, and work in partnership with community-based organisations and activists to support and fund awareness and education campaigns.
  • Ensure continued research and data collection to strengthen the evidence base on the nature and scope of the practice to guide the development and implementation of effective interventions at all levels to shift harmful social and gender norms underpinning the practice.

We look forward to supporting the Maldives in its commitments to end all forms of female genital mutilation or cutting.

Thank you.

This statement is endorsed by:

  1. Dr. Angela Dawson, Australia
  2. Equality Now
  3. Filzah Sumartono, Singapore
  4. Hope for Women, Maldives
  5. Kalyanamitra, Indonesia
  6. Love Matters India
  7. Orchid Project, United Kingdom
  8. Sahiyo, India
  9. Sahiyo, United States
  10. Shreen Abdul Saroor, Women’s Action Network Sri Lanka
  11. The Zinthiya Trust, United Kingdom
  12. WeSpeakOut, India


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