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Madam Vice President,
The human rights of women and girls are at risk around the world. In some countries, their rights are gravely abused:
Sexual and gender based violence is widespread in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We call on the authorities to hold all perpetrators accountable.
Harmful practices, such as forcing girls into child-marriage and female genital mutilation, constitute violations of various human rights. In Countries like Djibouti, Somalia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Mali and Egypt, a large majority of the female population has undergone female genital mutilation. Such practice is a violation of fundamental rights and we urge all countries to end this practise.
In the Middle East we find countries where women are restricted by both by law and custom. While Saudi Arabia has taken some positive steps regarding women`s rights in recent years, a male guardianship system and other restrictive practices are still in place, violating women`s human rights. In Iran, what women wear, study and where they can work, is closely regulated. In both countries, many women who have defended human rights face serious indictments and prosecution. No country should imprison human rights defenders.
It is unacceptable that women do not have access to basic sexual and reproductive health and rights in all countries. We are particular concerned for the situation in some Central American countries, among those El Salvador, where there are examples of women being imprisoned for experiencing a miscarriage.