Non-Governmental Organisation; the International Solidarity Foundation, is pushing to have female genitalia included on the Unesco World Heritage List as a protective measure against Female Genital Mutilation. According to ISF, the practice of FGM affects over 200 million girls and women worldwide. According to a recent study by the University of Birmingham, 44,000 girls and women die annually as a result of FGM. Every minute, six girls are mutilated. Yesterday, on the International Day of the Girl Child, the ISF submitted an application demanding that female genitalia be added to the Unesco World Heritage List for protection against FGM.
The ISF also addressed Unesco directly with a pledge that ran on billboards close to Unesco headquarters in Paris on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child.International Solidarity Foundation is a Finnish organization working against FGM internationally.For a subject to be included on the Unesco World Heritage List, its unique universal value must be demonstrated. “Without the female genitalia, no person would exist. Female genital mutilation is an international problem that causes serious health issues and systematically undermines the societal position of women. “Therefore, the female genitalia should be recognized and protected by an internationally acknowledged entity,” said Saara Manelius, the head of communications at ISF, in a press statement.
The chairman of the Finnish Unesco committee, Teivo Teivainen, considers the initiative significant. “Proposing the female genitalia as a Unesco World Heritage site is important for the visibility of women, women’s sexuality, and violations against women’s genitalia.”Teivainen said it is also significant because it can foster discussions on the extent to which Unesco World Heritage sites currently relate to the identity of individual states or regions.“Whatever the outcome of this application, I hope it inspires reflections on the opportunities for government officials and decision-makers to promote the