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Eight global harmful practices rob girls of their fundamental rights: UN Human Rights

Norway on Tuesday launched International Strategy to Eliminate Harmful Practices which negatively impact the lives, health and fundamental human rights of girls and women.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Geneva | Updated: 15-01-2020 20:33 IST | Created: 15-01-2020 20:33 IST
Eight global harmful practices rob girls of their fundamental rights: UN Human Rights
Image Credit: unhr

The United Nations Human Rights has identified eight global harmful practices which are widespread across societies and rob the girls of their fundamental rights. They are female genital mutilation, honor crimes, dowry-related killings & violence, early forced marriages, virgin rapes, bride kidnapping, virginity tests, and polygamous marriages.

"To tackle harmful practices successfully requires us to address all these factors – both the underlying discriminatory stereotypes about girls and women, and the economic, social and political conditions which contribute to activating those stereotypes," said Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights while addressing the launch of Norway's International Strategy to Eliminate Harmful Practices on Tuesday in Geneva. These harmful practices negatively impact lives, health, and fundamental human rights of millions of girls and women. "These practices are widespread and profoundly damaging human rights abuses," she added.

According to the data with the UN Human, globally about 650 million women alive today were married as children. "In least developed countries, 40 percent of girls continue to be married before age 18, 12 % before the age of 15. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation, which can not only kill, but may also create lifelong pain and trauma. 44 million of those girls and women are under the age of 15," informed Bachelet.

The High Commissioner, however, cautioned against stigmatization of societies who practice such harmful practices but work to change the minds. "I want to emphasize this point: as we address these harmful practices, it is important to avoid stigmatizing the communities that practice them. For as horrendous and damaging as these practices are, they are often perceived as the only option to ensure girls can survive," she asserted. She also cited successful examples from Ethiopia and Nairobi (Kenya) to establish that persuasion works miraculously and provides sustainable solution to societies in eliminating evil practices. "Minds do change, and I encourage all actors to work together with local activists and women rights defenders to help change them. It is they who are the experts, "she emphasized.


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