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Guinea-Bissau: A new Ambassador appointed for the fight against FGM

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. The appointment was announced at a gala evening organized by the Ministry of Women, Family and Social Cohesion, with the support of UNFPA and the Government of Portugal.

Tchuma Bari, was chosen for her dedication to advocating for human rights, with regard to women and girls in particular.

Ms. Bari - 26 years old - is a renowned artist in the country. She comes from Buba, Quinara region, in the south of Guinea-Bissau and one of the regions where FGM is prevalent and common. Tchuma Bari was very excited and emotional about her appointment. She pledged to work very hard to support ongoing efforts against FGM, and called on all partners to redouble efforts.

The colorful gala was graced by many artists and actors, all singing and acting about FGM, and calling for its eradication in Guinea-Bissau. Former practitioners of FGM, like Nhima Corobó who was present at the ceremony, attributed the persistence of this practice to the lack of information and education. “Now that I know, I will never do it again”, she promised.

Religious leader (Imam) Infali Coté, reiterated that Islam does not mention anything close to this practice that injures many women and girls in Guinea Bissau and abuses their rights without good reason. The prevalence of FGM in Guinea Bissau is 45,5% among women from 15 to 49 years old.

UNFPA Representative, Violet Kakyomya, highlighted the “many achievements” of the country “in the fight against FGM”, pointing out that “Government’s commitment has been remarkable and constant, the Parliament has been supportive, and communities have been responsive”.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Maria do Valle Ribeiro recalled UN Resolution 67/146 (www.npwj.org/node/7462) which states that this practice “poses a serious threat to the health of women and girls, particularly in the psychological, sexual and obstetric plan and can increase the chances of contracting HIV”.

The event was presided by the Minister of Justice – representing the Minister of Women, Family and Social Cohesion. She thanked all partners for their support and pledged the commitment of Government to eradicate the practice and take punitive measures to those who continue in accordance with the law.

UNFPA country office in Guinea-Bissau has worked in partnership with the Government of Portugal for many years, on maternal health issues, starting this year on FGM. The Ambassador of Portugal, present at the ceremony, reiterated the continuing support of his Government to worthwhile causes in Guinea-Bissau, such as the eradication of FGM.

The support is provided through the Instituto de Camões de Portugal, and is used by UNFPA in the context of the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme on Female Genital Mutilation.