FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Blaine Higgs has signed a provincial declaration recognizing International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

In 2012, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly designated Feb. 6 as the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, with the aim of amplifying and directing the efforts on the elimination of this practice. The UN and other global organizations recognize female genital mutilation as child abuse and abuse of a girl’s fundamental human rights.

“This practice is an unacceptable violation of a woman’s body,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “I urge New Brunswickers to stand with and support women and girls from many cultures that now call New Brunswick home who have survived the harmful practice.”

According to the UN, more than 4.5 million girls around the world are at risk of being mutilated each year.

“International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate all efforts to achieve the UN goal to eliminate female genital mutilation and other harmful practices by 2030,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality. “The practice has no benefits and causes only harm, including death. I am proud of New Brunswick’s zero tolerance against the violation of human rights of women and girls caused by this inhumane practice.”