A girl is helped to a place where she will rest after being circumcised in a tribal ritual in the town of Marigat in Kenya, Oct. 16, 2014. More than a quarter of girls and women in Kenya have undergone genital cutting, according to UN data. PHOTO Siegfried Modola/Reuters

Canada to fund fight against female genital mutilation

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The federal government is set to announce a major funding effort to combat the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) also known as female circumcision.

An anti-FGM protest in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007 –
though condemned, FGM is still practiced in several African countries, the Middle East, Asia, and Indonesia PHOTO: Marco Longari- AFP-Getty Images

The money- at least $3million-, will fund projects mainly in the West African nation of Benin to reduce the practice.

FGM is illegal in Canada, and that notice had been included in Canada’s Citizenship Guide for newcomers.  It was removed by the current Liberal government, which has since said it will put the notice back into the guide.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau will announce $3 million in funding for a project to stop female genital cutting in Benin, West Africa. PHOTO Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said some 60 per cent of girls in Benin undergo the mutilation adding, “Our objective is to prevent 57,000 girls between zero and nine from being targeted and being cut”.

The funds will go to CUSO International (originally known as Canadian University Service Overseas) which will use the money over the next four years to reduce the practice in rural regions of the country.

In a statement in 2007  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Although some would argue that this is a ‘tradition,’ we must recall that slavery, so-called honour killings and other inhumane practices have been defended with the same weak argument. Just because a harmful practice has long existed does not justify its continuation. All ‘traditions’ that demean, dehumanize and injure are human rights violations that must be actively opposed until they are ended.”

The Canadian government announcement is to come today which is also the International Day for Zero Tolerance on female genital mutilation

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