Faiths and states urged to help end ‘cruel practice’
RELIGIOUS leaders’ influence is needed, with governments’ support, to decrease the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), World Vision has said. It was marking Tuesday as an International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. Its child-protection programme adviser, Tracy Shields, said that it needed to work with religious leaders: “In some societies, FGM has continued because there is a perception that this is a religious requirement, and that is wrong.” FGM is banned in the UK, but still common in Africa. The executive directors of the UN population fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF, Dr Natalaia Kanem and Henrietta H Fore, said in a joint statement that this “cruel practice” violated human rights, but the momentum building, and “Political will, community engagement and targeted investment are changing practices and changing lives.”
Pope urges united front against human trafficking
POPE FRANCIS has urged individuals, organisations, and governments to work together to bring an end to human trafficking and support its victims. During his weekly audience on Wednesday, the Pope said that many migrants were forced to travel illegally across borders, and were, therefore, at risk of “abuse of every kind, exploitation, and slavery”. The RC Church observes a Day of Prayer and Awareness Raising on human trafficking on the feast (yesterday) of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun who was trafficked as a child.
Least-developed countries’ growth falls short
INTERNATIONAL support for the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) is falling short of the Sustainable Development Goals set out for 2030, analysis by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, published this week, suggests. Growth of LDCs — defined as requiring special attention from international governments – averaged five per cent last year. It is projected to reach 5.4 per cent in 2018, 1.6 per cent short of the Sustainable Development Goals’ target. Only five LDCs achieved economic growth of seven per cent or higher this year: Ethiopia (8.5 per cent), Nepal (7.5 per cent), Myanmar (7.2 per cent), Bangladesh (7.1 per cent), and Djibouti (seven per cent). www.un.org
RC priests killed on highway in Mexico
TWO Roman Catholic priests were shot dead in Mexico, on Monday, and four people were wounded, when their vehicle was attacked by unknown assailants while driving on a rural highway in the southern state of Guerrero, Associated Press reports. The priests, Ivan Añorve Jaimes and Germain Muñiz Garcia, were returning home after celebrating the Feast of Candlemas. The archdiocese of Acapulco said in a statement: “We will not cease in our efforts to build peace in our family, in our community, in our state and in our homeland.” The assassination of 31 priests have been registered in the past ten years in the country, 15 in of them in the past four years, alongside threats, extortion, kidnapping, torture, and murder (News, 7 April).