21 May 2013 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & women's rights

NPWJ in the news

Non dimentichiamo le mutilazioni genitali
Emma Fattorini, L'Unità, 18 May 2013

I diritti umani mettono in crisi la tradizionale e assoluta idea di sovranità nazionale così come quella di un'unica e superiore identità culturale. Se dunque quella dei diritti umani diventa anche una possibile lettura della globalizzazione stessa, la sua cultura non è solo giuridico-costituzionale ma anche storica, etica, politica. E diventa, ormai, il tema sul quale un Paese è giudicato, e sul quale si misura il livello di civiltà e civilizzazione non meno che le questioni economiche o angustamente nazionali. Ed è con questo spirito, quello di un diverso, nuovo senso dei diritti umani che va intesa la difesa la dignità dei corpi femminili. Penso al grande lavoro fatto dall'attuale ministro degli esteri Emma Bonino sul tema delle Mutilazioni genitali femminili (Mgf), che, nonostante rappresentino una grave violazione dei diritti delle donne, sono una pratica molto diffusa nel mondo.  (...)
Dal 2009, con la collaborazione di Unicef e Unfpa e l'attivo coinvolgimento dell'Ong «Non c'è pace senza giustizia», l'Italia ha attivamente promosso a New York riunioni periodiche di un gruppo di Paesi, prevalentemente africani, con l'obiettivo di delineare un approccio comune su questa tematica. Il nostro Paese ha agito affinché si coagulasse all'interno del gruppo africano un consenso sulla proposta di una Risoluzione dell'Assemblea generale sulle Mgf. Questo cammino è stato coronato, nell'autunno 2012, dalla presentazione da parte del Gruppo africano in seno alla Terza commissione dell'Assemblea Generale, di un testo sull'eliminazione delle Mgf, che ha costituito la base di in una Risoluzione adottata per consenso dalla plenaria dell'Assemblea generale. 

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The NHS clinics helping victims of genital mutilation
By Jane Dreaper, BBC News, 21 May 2013

Female genital mutilation, the cutting of sexual organs, is thought to affect 66,000 women in the UK. Sometimes it happens when young girls are sent back to relatives in north or east Africa, but it is also thought that cutting occurs here in the UK too. There have been no prosecutions so far - though the government says it is determined to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Several hospital and community-based clinics in London help women who have suffered FGM, as well as one in Birmingham and another about to open in Bristol.The NHS clinic at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital treats more than 100 women a year who have had their sexual organs cut or sewn up because of cultural beliefs - including Filsan, 35. Now a mother-of-three living in the UK, she was treated to a new dress in her native Somalia at the age of seven. This was in fact a prelude to something sinister - having her organs cut.

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Uganda: FGM cases drop by 40%
By Ephiraim Kasozi, The Daily Monitor Uganda, 20 May 2013

The number of females who undergo genital mutilation among the Pokot and Sabiny tribes has reduced by 77 in two years, a report shows. The 2012 report following a campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), indicates that cases dropped from 197 in 2010 to 120 in 2012 which is about 40 per cent. FGM, which involves the partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia, are often performed on girls between seven and 14 years. The practice, outlawed by an Act of Parliament in 2010, is considered as a rite of passage into womanhood by its practitioners.

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Fighting Against FGM in Somaliland
By Brenda Ray, The Huffington Post, 17 May 2013

Her name is Edna Adan and she is fighting for the health rights and well-being of Somalilander women. As we first arrived in Hargeisa, the capitol of Somaliland, I felt like we were driving through a dusty powder blue thorn bush sanctuary, their branches having successfully impaled thousands of wind-blown garbage bags. Later I was to discover that the same slim and sleek 2 inch thorns are used as stitching material, in the absence of needles and thread. In a village outside of Hargeisa, Edna fingered the thorns, pressing the hard needle sharpness to her fingers. She looked at us and, at me, I felt, in particular. "You see these? This is what they use to sew up what's left of the girl's vagina when they perform SUNA on her.

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UK girls in danger as FGM 'cutting season' approaches
By Clara Mackanzie, FIGO, 17 May 2013

Dubbing it the "cutting season", Ms Featherstone told the London Evening Standard that many parents are expected to take their daughters abroad to carry out the practice, which has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985. She explained that the long break ensured victims would have "enough time to recover from the procedure before term starts again". The minister urged all Londoners to inform the authorities if they suspect a neighbour or relative's welfare is at stake. An estimated 65,000 women living in Britain have undergone FGM and a further 30,000 are thought to be at risk. While the Metropolitan Police have launched 148 investigations into alleged FGM cases since 2010, no prosecutions have ever been made

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Neil Wallis: Why can’t the police tackle the barbarity of FGM?
By Neil Wallis, London Evening Standard, 16 May 2013

Despite my extensive police connections as a former tabloid journalist, I had no idea until recently that female genital mutilation was being practised right here in Britain. Then I met a bright, angry young woman of Somali descent who told me about it. The facts stagger me. A young girl, usually around the age of five and always before puberty, is held down by her parents and, without anaesthetic, part of her sexual organs are cut away. The reason is simple: it means that when the child grows into a woman she can never experience sexual fulfilment — and therefore won’t commit infidelity. The Metropolitan Police’s own statistics admit there are 6,500 girls in London alone at high risk of the most severe form of FGM. Campaigners say that nationally 30,000 children are at high risk. We’re now coming into what the police themselves, on their bland press releases, call the main “FGM season”. It’s often carried out in the school summer holidays so the victim has time to recover physically

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Niger villagers vow to end FGM
By Abdoulaye Massalatchi, IOL News, 16 May 2013

 About 14 000 villagers from 20 communities in Niger took a public vow to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced under-age marriage as the West African country's government steps up its fight against such abuses. Though Niger outlawed the practice in 2003, FGM and other violent treatment of young women remain prevalent among some ethnic groups in the impoverished Sahel nation, which ranks bottom of the United Nations' world development index. At a ceremony in Makalondi, about 85 km (53 miles) west of the capital Niamey, villagers threw scissors, knives and blades into a pit in the village square which was then filled in.  Participants in the ceremony, sponsored by Niger's government and non-governmental groups including U.N. child agency UNICEF, also vowed to end forced early marriages and the removal of young girls from schools.

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