Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, issued the following statement on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation:
“Female genital mutilation is the ritual of cutting, piercing or removing the clitoris, and/or the sewing closed of the external genitals of women. There are no medical or health benefits. That’s why I’ve declared today as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
“Our government is committed to preventing and addressing violence against women and girls in all its forms. Female genital mutilation is recognized internationally as a violation of human rights and can lead to long-term health complications for women and girls.
“We must work together with communities, educators and health providers to develop a deeper understanding of how to work cooperatively to end female genital mutilation and support survivors.
“By recognizing International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, we are able to have honest discussions about this debilitating practice that happens right here in Canada. We must all take a stand against cutting our beautifully perfect girls.”
Onyinye Chukwunyerenwa, a Calgary-based advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse, added her perspective:
“Female genital mutilation is child sexual abuse and it has continued because we are silent. Let us therefore break the culture of silence.”