Friday, 25 July 2014

Girl Summit 2014 in London UK - Excerpts

The Girl Summit took place in London on 22 July, kick starting a global movement to end child, early and forced marriage and FGM for all girls within a generation.
Doing this will help preserve girls' childhoods, promote their education, reduce their exposure to violence and abuse, and allow them to fulfil their potential in life.

The Girl Summit, hosted by the government and UNICEF, is aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child and forced marriage (CFM) within a generation.
It was a well-attended event which brought together campaigners, policymakers and development professionals, from around the world, to a school in south London.
Speakers  at the Girl Summit included the UK prime minister David Cameron, the UK , girls education champion Malala Yousafzai and actress Freida Pinto -

 The event was attended by over 500 delegates from 50 countries, United Nations agencies, survivors, charities, community groups, faith leaders and front line professionals, to galvanise global efforts to end FGM and CFM within a generation.
Prime Minister David Cameron said :
"All girls have the right to live free from violence and coercion, without being forced into marriage or the lifelong physical and psychological effects of female genital mutilation. Abhorrent practices like these, no matter how deeply rooted in societies, violate the rights of girls and women across the world, including here in the UK. I want to build a better future for all our girls and I am hosting the Girl Summit today so that we say with one voice – let’s end these practices once and for all ".
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
"FGM and forced marriage are incredibly harmful practices, and it is terrible to think about the number of women and girls in the UK who have been subjected to these crimes.
Today’s summit aims to inspire and secure a better future for thousands of women and girls who are at risk of being seriously harmed by those closest to them – either by having their sexual, physical and mental health damaged by FGM or having their education, freedom and ambition curtailed when they are coerced into an unwanted marriage. I am proud of the action we are taking in the UK to stamp out these harmful practices and delighted to be joined by community leaders, frontline professionals and charity partners from across the world in taking further action to end FGM and forced marriage ".
 A new report out today from City University London in collaboration with Equality Now estimates that approximately 60,000 girls aged 0 to 14 years old were born in England and Wales to mothers who had undergone FGM.
 It estimates that approximately 103,000 women aged 15 to 49 and approximately 24,000 women aged 50 and over, who have migrated to England and Wales, are living with the consequences of FGM. In addition, approximately 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales, are likely to have undergone FGM.

The Girl Summit 2014 was indeed as timely and as proactive as it was necessary .
The occassion was graced by men , women and children who had either been victims themselves or have been involved in caring for and mentoring victims and government officials whose business it was to proffer opinions  and solutions  to the destructive practices of  Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriages of girls .
The Girl Summit captured imaginations beyond the hall, however, with a public pledge to end FGM and child marriage reaching a staggering 700 million people through social media.
Hundreds of millions of pounds were committed at the Girl Summit  in an effort to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage within a generation.
Child, early and forced marriage affects millions of girls every year. One in three girls in developing countries is married by the age of 18. Some are as young as eight. Girls who marry young have babies while still children, putting them at risk of death or suffering for the rest of their lives. They are more likely to be poor and stay poor.
In the UK, hundreds of girls risk being forced into marriage, violating their human rights. Forced marriage victims can suffer physical, psychological, emotional, financial and sexual abuse.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) removes a girl's right to have control over her own body. Traditionally considered essential for marriage and inclusion in the community, it is an extreme and violent way in which girls are controlled and disempowered. It can result in a lifetime of pain and difficulty in childbirth. Trends suggest at least 30 million girls will be at risk over the next decade - with more than 20,000 at risk in the UK every year.
Female genital mutilation
  • Practised in 29 countries in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East.
  •  Includes "the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons"
  • An estimated three million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year
  • About 125 million victims estimated to be living with the consequences
  • It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
  • Often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage and to ensure "pure femininity"
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth
  • In December 2012, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for all member states to ban the practice.
  • Types of FGM • Clitoridectomy - partial or total removal of the clitoris
    • Excision - removal of the clitoris and inner labia (lips), with or without the outer labia
    • Infibulation - cutting, removing and sewing up the genitalia
    • Any other type of intentional damage to the female genitalia (burning, scraping et cetera)

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    Comfort Momoh runs the African Well Women's Clinic at Guy's Hospital in London which treats FGM victims.
    "The problem is big in the UK," she admits. The clinic sees between 300 and 350 women every year.
    The UK problem includes girls being cut here but also being taken overseas - sometimes in school holidays - to be cut before returning home.
  • Major steps to stamp out these practices have been announced and they include:
  • a £1.4 million FGM Prevention Programme, launched in partnership with NHS England to help care for survivors and safeguard those at risk
  • new police guidance from the College of Policing and an inspection programme by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that will look at how the police handle cases of FGM
  • a consultation on proposals to introduce new civil orders designed to protect girls identified as being at risk of FGM
  • new legislation that will mean parents can be prosecuted if they fail to prevent their daughter being cut.

  • * Parents who allow their daughters to be subjected to female genital mutilation will face prosecution under new legislation.
    * Child protection squads will also target summer flights out of Britain, in an effort to protect at-risk girls from being taken to countries where the practice is commonplace.
  • new legislation to grant victims of FGM lifelong anonymity from the time an allegation is made
  • a new specialist FGM service which will include social services, to proactively identify and respond to FGM; this will be supported by an ongoing package of work led by the Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler
  • new programmes to prevent child and forced marriage in 12 developing countries
  • an international charter calling for the eradication of these practices within a generation.

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