CEDAW General Recommendation No. 14: Female Circumcision

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation 13, Equal remuneration for work of equal value (Eighth session, 1989), U.N. Doc. A/44/38 at 76 (1990).
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Year of adoption: 1999
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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women,

Concerned about the continuation of the practice of female circumcision and other traditional practices harmful to the health of women,

Noting with satisfaction that Governments, where such practices exist, national women’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, specialized agencies, such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, as well as the Commission on Human Rights and its Submission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, remain seized of the issue having particularly recognized that such traditional practices as female circumcision have serious health and other consequences for women and children,

Noting with interest the study of the Special Rapporteur on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, as well as the study of the Special Working Group on Traditional Practices,

Recognizing that women are taking important action themselves to identify and to combat practices that are prejudicial to the health and well-being of women and children,

Convinced that the important action that is being taken by women and by all interested groups needs to be supported and encouraged by Governments,

Noting with grave concern that there are continuing cultural, traditional and economic pressures which help to perpetuate harmful practices, such as female circumcision,

Recommends to States parties:

(a) That States parties take appropriate and effective measures with a view to eradicating the practice of female circumcision. Such measures could include:

The collection and dissemination by universities, medical or nursing associations, national women’s organizations or other bodies of basic data about such traditional practices;

The support of women’s organizations at the national and local levels working for the elimination of female circumcision and other practices harmful to women;

The encouragement of politicians, professionals, religious and community leaders at all levels including the media and the arts to cooperate in influencing attitudes towards the eradication of female circumcision;

The introduction of appropriate educational and training programmes and seminars based on research findings about the problems arising from female circumcision;

(b) That States parties include in their national health policies appropriate strategies aimed at eradicating female circumcision in public health care. Such strategies could include the special responsibility of health personnel including traditional birth attendants to explain the harmful effects of female circumcision;

(c) That States parties invite assistance, information and advice from the

appropriate organizations of the United Nations system to support and assist efforts being deployed to eliminate harmful traditional practices;

(d) That States parties include in their reports to the Committee under articles 10 and 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women information about measures taken to eliminate female circumcision.


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