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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gambians parents in UK to face prosecution for FGM

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There are  a “few Gambians residents in the UK”, according to the UK border Agency director for West Africa, Nick Crouch, in an interview with The Standard last year even as he acknowledged he could not be sure of the exact number.

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Now the British premier, David Cameron has said FGM and childhood forced marriage should be stopped worldwide “within this generation” as he canvassed global action to achieve the target.

Speaking at a global summit in London yesterday, Mr Cameron unveiled a range of measures as part of which parents in England and Wales will face prosecution if they fail to stop daughters undergoing FGM.

Mr Cameron told the Girl Summit the existence of the practices constitute “standing rebukes to our world. It is absolutely clear about what we are trying to achieve. It is such a simple but noble and good ambition and that is to outlaw the practices of female genital mutilation, and childhood and early forced marriage, to outlaw them everywhere for everyone within this generation,” he said.

Hosted by the UK government and Unicef, he said the summit was intended to utilise “the power of convening people to come up with ideas and commitments to outlaw these practices”. 

In attendance at the summit were international politicians, campaigners including the Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, and women who have undergone FGM. The summit is also looking at ways to end forced marriage.

The executive director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, acknowledged the gains made in improving the situation while reflecting that many girls remained at risk.

“The fact that 30 million girls are at risk of being cut in the coming years clearly means that we have a big challenge on our hands,” she admonished.

Estimates indicate that up to 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone FGM although it has been illegal in the UK since 1985. 

Measures to tackle FGM in the UK include:

Training for teachers, doctors and social workers to identify and help girls at risk

Lifelong anonymity for victims

New guidance for police on handling FGM cases

A £1.4 million prevention programme, in partnership with NHS England, to care for survivors and safeguard those at risk

A new specialist FGM service which will include social services, to “proactively identify and respond to FGM”

UK MPs recently said the UK’s failure to tackle FGM was “a national scandal”, and that failures by ministers, police and other agencies had led to the “preventable mutilation of thousands of girls”.

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