Ethiopia Vows to Eliminate Child Marriage, FGM by 2025
Addis Ababa July 24/2014 The government of Ethiopia has made a commitment to eliminate child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) traditional practices by 2025, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at a global summit hosted jointly by the UK government and UNICEF in London.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs , the Deputy PM stated that Ethiopia’s "approach puts girls at the heart ” and is working closely with them, their families and communities, to end these practices for good and break the cycle of harmful traditional practices.
He pointed out that Ethiopia would achieve its goal by 2025 through a strategic, multi-sectoral approach and highlighted four areas where the government has promised to take action through incorporating relevant indicators in the National Plan and the National Data Collection Mechanisms, including the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey to measure the situation of FGM and CEFM (child, early and forced marriage) and to establish a clear benchmark and through strong, accountable mechanisms for effective law enforcement.
Women, Children and Youth Affairs Minister, Zenebu Tadesse, on her part said the national rate of FGM has decreased by half among girls aged 14 and under, from 52 percent in 2000, to 23 percent in 2011; and the national prevalence of child marriage has declined from 33.1 percent in 1997, to 21.4 percent in 2010.
"I am proud of our achievements and I would like to share with you our experiences with the hope of inspiring other nations to take decisive, robust action," she said.
Prime Minister David Cameron said, “All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation. Abhorrent practices like these, no matter how deeply rooted in societies, violate the rights of girls and women across the world. I am hosting the Girl Summit today so that we say with one voice – let’s end these practices once and for all.”
The Summit brought together young people, community members, activists, traditional and faith leaders, government and international leaders, experts and champions committed to the rights and empowerment of women and girls.
In Ethiopia, according to the 2011 Welfare Monitoring Survey (WMS) report, 23 percent of female children aged 0 to 14 years were circumcised at national level. The regional distribution of FGM varies highly from the lowest 7 per cent in Gambela regional state to the highest 60 percent in Afar. Next to Afar regional state, Amhara and Somali have the highest percentage of FGM, 47 percent and 31percent respectively, it was learned.
In terms of child marriage, the highest prevalence rate for child marriage prevails in Amhara regional state (44.8 percent), followed by Tigray (34.1 percent), Benishangul Gumuz (31.9 percent) , and Addis Ababa (32.3 percent).
The highest decline was observed in SNNP regional state where the prevalence rate declined from 18.7 percent to 9.9 percent, and in Benishangul Gumuz where it declined from 50.1 percent to 31.9 per cent.