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Female infanticide: Stop barbaric practice
A young mother had to poison her baby because it was a girl. It’s high time we end this barbaric practice. Now is the time to energise efforts to put gender equality at the top of international peace and development agenda.
LAKSHMI HAD a daughter, so when she gave birth to a second girl, she killed her. For the three days of her second child’s short span of life, Lakshmi admits, she refused to nurse her. To silence the infants famished cries, the impoverished village women squeezed the milky sap from an coriander shrub, mixed it with castor oil and propel the poisonous potion down the newborn’s throat. The baby bled from the nose then died soon afterwards. Female neighbours sympathised with Lakshmi and in the same circumstances, some would probably have done what she did.
 
When you look around this audience and see so many distinguished and accomplished ladies from all corners of the globe, it would be easy to think that this challenge has been overcome. But we all know of course, from our own country and our own experience that this is not the case.
 
When we celebrate progress, we know that it has been too slow. More than 50 yrs of independence, it is still a women’s face we see when we speak of poverty, of HIV/AIDS, of violent conflicts and social upheaval.
 
The case tells us where we are today but more importantly provides a route map for the future. By providing a comparative analysis, it allows us to learn from the experiences of countries that have had greater success.
 
Let us assert once again that each women and girl is a unique and at the same time valuable human being, who is entitled to equal opportunities and universally adopted human rights, no matter where she is born or where she lives.
 
Now is the time to energise efforts to put gender equality at the top of international peace and development agenda.
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