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28 July 2014—Australia supports human rights action for women and girls

Minister for Justice

Australia supports human rights action for women and girls

28 July 2014

Joint media release

Minister for Justice
The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women
Senator The Hon Michaelia Cash

At the recent Girl Summit 2014 held in London, Australia signed the Charter to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage

Australia believes these practices violate human rights.

FGM constitutes a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

Child, early and forced marriage impedes its victims from achieving their economic and social potential and denies them proper access to legal and health services. 

Earlier this month the Australian Government announced $480,000 in grants for organisations working to increase Australian community awareness of forced marriage and to provide free, individualised legal advice by email and text message to people who are at-risk.

Australia’s domestic legislation recognises forced marriage as a serious form of exploitation, akin to a slavery‑like practice.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women is a priority of Australia’s aid program. In 2013-14, Australia provided voluntary core funding to the United Nations Population Fund ($15 million) and UNICEF ($34.1 million).

Both agencies play a critical role in drawing international attention to reproductive health and gender equality issues.

Australia will continue to advocate at the international level on these issues including at United Nations forums such as the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council and the Commission on the Status of Women.