Liberal Democrat MEPs take fight against FGM to European Commission

Liberal Democrat MEPs have written an open letter to EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Development Commissioner Piebalgs calling on the EU to step up the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

They said:

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an appalling form of child abuse and violence against women which continues to blight the lives of millions around the world. We would like to commend the Commission and EEAS for their much-needed action to date on preventing  FGM, including successful EU-UNICEF programmes in Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sudan and India.  But we believe more could be done. Through more funding for awareness-raising and grass-roots activity as well as more effective data collection on victims of FGM and greater coordination with national governments, the EU could play an even greater role in protecting young girls and women around the world.

The United Kingdom is playing a major role in the global fight to eradicate FGM under the leadership of International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone MP. In March 2013 Ms Featherstone announced a £35 million programme that will support local projects in Africa, research into the most cost-effective approaches to end FGM and work with diaspora communities to bring about change in their countries of origin as well as in the UK. With the support of the EU and its member states, we can continue to shape cultural attitudes across Europe and worldwide and end this horrific practice.

Given the progress achieved on FGM, making the world truly safe for women and girls is an achievable possibility. We call on you to make this goal a central part of the EU’s external relations. By taking the lead on this issue, the EU can help to end FGM within a generation.

Lynne Featherstone, who is tomorrow doing a mass awareness raising campaign on the subject said:

I’m glad that MEPs are taking the fight against FGM to Brussels.

We owe it to the millions of girls who are at risk of being cut every year to build on recent progress and keep up the pressure for change.

Working with international organisations like the EU will help us to build on our work in government and fulfil our ambition of ending this horrific practice within a generation.

If you want to sign up to help Lynne Featherstone’s inititative tomorrow, which we told you about on Monday, you can do so here before 11 am tomorrow.

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