19 June 2019: Representatives of African governments, UN agencies, the African Union, religious and traditional leaders including youth and civil society organizations are taking part in a high level conference on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation in Cairo, The Arab Republic of Egypt. Opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Ahmad Ihab Gamal Eldin, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt; Dr. Azza El Ashmawy- Secretary General of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood Egypt; Dr Maya Morsi- President of the National Council of Women Egypt; H.E. Amb. Ivan Surkos- Head of the European Union delegation in Egypt; H.E. Commissioner Soyata Maiga- Chairperson of the AU Commission on Human People’s Rights; H.E. Hon. Lucy Asugbor – Special Rapporteur on the Rights Women in Africa and Mrs Cisse Mariama Mohamed- AU Director of Social Affairs including a video message from H.E. Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka- Executive Director of UNWOMEN.
The meeting was officially opened by Mrs Cisse Mariama Mohamed, Director of Social Affairs on behalf of her excellency Mrs. Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs. In her opening statement, Mrs Cisse Mohamed mentioned that:
“Child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation have been identified as the most harmful traditional practices that engulf our societies.”
“As studies have shown, 125 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday with one in ten African girls being married before their 15th birthday.”
The conference will deliberate over a two day period- 19 and 20 June and is expected to have interactive discussions on the harmful effects of child marriage, female genital mutilation and the role of different stakeholders such as youth, religious and traditional leaders in accelerating an end to these harmful practices. The conference will have a main outcome document – “A Call to Action on Ending child marriage and FGM in Africa’.