African Activist Declaration from Equality Now Workshop

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Nairobi, Kenya on 27-31 January 2014

Anti-FGM activists at Equality Now's "Holding Duty Bearers to Account" workshop, Jan 2014

We the Participants from 171 African countries attending the training workshop on “Holding Duty Bearers to Account: Building Local Organizations’ Capacity to End Female Genital Mutilation” hosted by Equality Now on 27-31st January 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya,

Having deliberated and reflected on the situation of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the continent have come to the conclusion that the continent has achieved formal equality in terms of the ratification of conventions protecting women and girls from female genital mutilation.

Note with appreciation that 22 African countries have legislation against FGM and we call on the remaining countries (Cameroon, The Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) to support this positive trend and legislate against FGM to attain Zero Tolerance of FGM on the continent.

We reiterate that FGM is a human rights violation – an extreme form of violence against women and girls and should be eliminated as a matter of urgency.

We condemn such atrocities and abuses of Women’s sexual, reproductive health rights,

Considering the various existing conventions, protocols, policies and resolutions especially the commitment by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution UNGA 67/146 on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of FGM to protect women and girls from violence and discrimination,

Noting that despite the existence of these agreements, violence continues to be perpetuated against women and girls,

Recognizing that FGM and child marriage are abuse and violence against women and girls in Africa,

Observing the current trend that communities are engaging in cutting girls at a very early age thus exploiting their vulnerability as minors,

Also recognizing that as a result of FGM and child marriage women and girls are facing effects of these practices resulting in the destruction of the social fabric of human existence impacting on women and girls negatively and undermining the dignity and bodily integrity of women, marginalization, stigmatization, and discrimination of women suffering from these effects,

Noting the impacts of these violations result in the physical, mental, social and economic abuse of women and girls and render them powerless and vulnerable to abuse.

Concerned about the deleterious effects of FGM and child marriage and the systematic abuses and violations of it by state, men and institutions,

Reaffirming that the movement to end the practice of FGM in Africa should be led by Africans,

We the Participants of this Workshop “Holding Duty Bearers to Account: Building Local Organization’s Capacity to End Female Genital Mutilation”, on the occasion of the Zero Tolerance on FGM Day, 6th February 2014, call on duty bearers to act with urgency and take the following actions:

To our Governments/States

The enactment of laws against FGM by the remaining six African countries (Cameroon, The Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) who have not yet done so,

The ratification and respect by all African Governments of all the existing Human Rights Protocols they have signed and ratification of or accession to the additional protocols and conventions that protect women and girls from FGM and child marriage,

The effective implementation and harmonization of these conventions with our domestic laws and policies,

Recognition of the dignity of women and girl children as persons and citizens who deserve to be treated equally with the diversity across the Continent,

The criminalization of FGM and ensure that perpetrators face the justice system,

The protection of victims of FGM and child marriage and provide them with appropriate mechanisms to promote their effective existence and development in society.

To Women

Support and engagement in advocacy and social mobilization to end FGM and child marriage in our countries,

Empowerment of women to defend their rights.

To Other Actors

Recognition of the efforts of African organizations, the Inter-African Committee members and many more groups engaged in ending FGM and child marriage,

Recognition and respect for the agency of grassroots women’s rights organizations working on FGM and give them funding to accelerate the advocacy to abandon FGM in their respective countries.

Financing by the International Community to engage in advocacy at the grassroots level and their institutions,

We call on Women’s Rights Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, and other relevant institutions to engage in effective advocacy and lobbying to advance the protection of women and children and in order to restore the dignity of the woman and the girl child.

We appeal to various institutions to support Zero Tolerance Movement against Violence Against Women and join the movement to raise their voices, resources and condemn the Practice all over the Continent of Africa.

We also call on all African governments and all duty bearers – particularly governments - to be held to account to ensure that existing and any new laws are fully implemented.

Subscribed to by All the Participants from the African Continent

On this 31st Day of January 2014, Nairobi, Kenya


1. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia/Somaliland, Tanzania, and Niger.