Update on Liberia Action
In March, Equality Now issued the Women's Action calling on the Liberian government to enact a law protecting women and girls from FGM in Liberia and seeking justice for Ruth Peal who was forcibly mutilated in January 2010 (see below) Since that time, the Minister of Internal Affairs has pledged to follow-up with Ruth’s case to ensure that she obtains justice, and the Ministry of Gender awarded a small grant to Ruth to help her start an income-generating activity.
FGM Case in Niger (AGLDF)
In November 2010, a member of the village watch reported to CONIPRAT that a circumciser mutilated seventeen young girls aged from three months to three years. CONIPRAT managed to identify only seven girls, and they were taken to hospital for treatment. The case was reported to the police, and the circumciser and nine parents were each charged with violation of article 232 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the practice of FGM in Niger. On 12 April 2011, the accused were found guilty and sentenced to three months imprisonment and a fine of 40,000 CFA (US$ 89) each. The judge indicated that the perpetrators should start serving the sentence from the 29th April 2011. Unfortunately, on the 29th April, the court changed the sentence to a suspended jail term, and CONIPRAT was denied the right to appeal the decision. Wanting to ensure the victims receive justice and send a message to the community to deter them from continuing carrying out the practice, CONIPRAT hired a local lawyer who appealed against the ruling at the Court of appeal. The hearing date has not been set yet.
Liberia -- enactment of FGM law
In March 2011, Equality Now issued a Women's Action calling on the government to enact a law protecting women and girls from FGM in Liberia and seeking justice for Ruth Peal who was forcibly mutilated in January 2010. Please see link below.
FGM case in Niger (AGLDF)
Equality Now is following up on the case of about eight girls, between the ages of one month to seven years, who were mutilated by a circumciser in the area of Kariel in Niger and taken to the local hospital for treatment. The police immediately arrested the circumciser and the parents. The local court has not set a date for a first hearing. Last year 42 people were convicted of subjecting their daughters to genital mutilation and sentenced to eight month suspended jail sentences and a fine of 89US$ each.
The latest issue of Equality Now's journal, which is resource to share information and provide a forum to promote a better understanding and more effective strategies for the eradication of FGM, is being printed and will soon be available on our website. Please see the link below for the last edition from 2010.
Strengthening the work of our partners:
Recently, Equality Now staff traveled to conduct monitoring and evaluation (M&E) training for two FGM Fund partners: PROFESAB in Mali and CONIPRAT in Niger. This is part of our efforts to strengthen the capacity of grassroots groups working in their communities.
EQUALITY NOWFGM Update: December 2010
Working to End FGM in Mali Equality Now has been ramping up efforts to ensure passage of a strong law against FGM in Mali, in partnership with the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). In September 2010, Equality Now staff and three parliamentarians from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo traveled to Mali to meet with their Malian counterparts to discuss strategies that can be used towards adopting a law against FGM in Mali. While the Mali parliamentarians expressed reluctance to pass such a law, they did agree to develop a plan of action that, it is hoped, will ultimately lead to the passage of an anti-FGM law. One extremely positive outcome of the Mali meetings was a statement by the Malian Minister for Gender indicating support for any anti-FGM actions or strategies adopted by parliament.
FGM in the United States: An UpdateWhile FGM is illegal in the U.S., thousands of girls living in the country are at risk of being subjected to FGM, either in the U.S. or when transported to their families’ home countries, often during their school holidays. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated in 1997 that over 168,000 girls and women living in the U.S. have either been subjected to FGM or are in danger of being so.
During the legislative session that will end January 3, 2011, U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) introduced “The Girls Protection Act (H.R. 5137),” bipartisan legislation that would address this gaping hole in protections for girls and women. While the 111th Congress did not vote on the bill during its session, Equality Now will continue to rally support for passage in the next legislative session.
Africa Rising: Building Awareness of the Atrocities of FGMAfrica Rising, spearheaded by Equality Now and directed by Emmy award-winning director Paula Heredia, is an insightful look at the frontlines of a quiet revolution taking Africa by storm, as grassroots efforts to end FGM slowly but steadily gain traction. The film was screened twice in September 2010 at the Urbanworld Film Festival in New York City. (See the attached program for the festival and the description of Africa Rising on page 23.)
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda: Urgent AlertsAfter having received reports of mass mutilation of girls in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, Equality Now released urgent alerts and wrote letters to the President of Uganda, the Inspector General of Police in Uganda and the Police Commissioner in Kenya. The letters are summarized below:
Tanzania – Urgent Alert calling on the government of Tanzania to rescue girls at risk of undergoing FGM and prosecute perpetrators:Following reports indicating that as many as 5,000 girls are at risk of undergoing FGM in Tarime region in Tanzania during the holiday season (from November to January), Equality Now issued an urgent alert calling on the government of Tanzania to take action and prevent FGM from taking place. The alert highlighted the need for the government to put in place a preventative mechanism to save girls who have not undergone the practice and arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators.
Uganda – Letters to the President and Inspector General of Police:Following reports of planned mutilation in the Sabiny region in Uganda, Equality Now wrote a letter urging the President of Uganda, His Excellence Yoweri Museveni, to take action in enforcing the new anti FGM law to ensure that all women and girls at risk are protected from undergoing FGM. In the letter, Equality Now highlighted his role in adopting the law against FGM in Uganda and the ratification to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
Kenya – Letter to the Police Commissioner:Following press reports of planned FGM activities in different parts of the country, Equality Now wrote a letter to the Police Commissioner asking him to act urgently to investigate and to prevent girls from undergoing FGM in Kuria, Marakwet and other parts of the country. In the letter, we called on the Commissioner to enforce the Children’s Act and arrest those planning to conduct the mutilation.
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