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International Day of the Girl Child (October 11, 2013)

On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, Mr. Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, would like to reaffirm France’s commitment to improving the living conditions and implementing the rights of young girls around the world, particularly in the poorest countries.

Of the 1.8 billion young people worldwide, it’s estimated that 600 million girls, who for the most part live in developing countries, are in an extremely vulnerable situation. They are often exposed to violence due to a lack of recognition of their fundamental right to security, education and health.

France would like to offer a global solution to meet these challenges. It is attached to implementing the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination against Women.

It has worked to promote the adoption of the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. At the national level, it adopted, in August 2013, a new “Gender and Development” strategy which places gender equality at the heart of France’s development policy. It notably involves ensuring that 50% of French development assistance projects and programs are aimed at improving gender equality. Lastly, it supports the action of UNICEF and UN Women.

For the second International Day of the Girl Child, France is mobilizing its efforts in support of the fight against violence in schools. This violence may lead to a decrease in school attendance which can adversely affect the course of young girls’ lives. For the most part, this violence remains hidden and goes unpunished, making it difficult for public authorities to discover, recognize and respond to it.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with UN and civil society agencies, established a working group which has provided recommendations on how to combat the impunity of the perpetrators of violence, strengthen preventive measures and take care of victims. This commitment has been put into practice on the ground through support for programs to promote the education of girls and to combat gender-based violence, implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger.

France and UNICEF, with the help of the Global Partnership for Education, will host, from October 19 to 21, a regional workshop in Ouagadougou aimed at developing a regional strategy to combat gender-based violence in schools.

- International Day of the Girl Child - 11 October - the United Nations

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