Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Stop Female Genital Mutilation in the UK


Each year, tens of thousands of girls in the UK are forced to have their genitals cut, often with no anesthesia. But there has been never been a conviction for female genital mutilation here -- even though in London alone, police have received 166 complaints in the last four years.

Undercover reporters for the Sunday Times recently caught three medics on film offering to mutilate young girls, massively scaling up the pressure on law enforcement to act. Avaaz, the global civic organization, is urging all of us in the UK to use this moment to call on Home Secretary Theresa May for real accountability. She is in charge of every police chief in England and Wales -- if she takes the issue up personally, the entire police system could be shaken into action.

Avaaz member Ruth Burnett has created a petition calling on the Home Secretary to start prosecuting people involved with these assaults and already more than 2000 people have signed. If they reach 20,000 signatures, Avaaz will deliver it directly to Home Secretary May and the head of Metropolitan Police Force -- click here to sign and forward to everyone:

Female Genital Mutilation is a custom widespread in nearly 30 Middle Eastern and African countries. But FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 and in 2003 the law was tightened to stop girls being taken abroad for the operation -- on so-called “FGM holidays”.

Still, the practice is widespread here in the UK. When the undercover Sunday Times reporter explained to Mohammed Sahib, an alternative medicine practitioner in East London that he represented a Ghanaian couple who wanted to have their two daughters -- aged 10 and 13 -- circumcised, he said “I can do it here,” confirming that he would both remove the clitoris and sew up the vagina. “This is my work. I know what I’m doing. I’m going to do it. I will tell you how [much] to pay [for one]: £750.”

Home Secretary Theresa May -- who oversees women’s issues for David Cameron, and who has the power to hold police chiefs all across England and Wales accountable -- recently admitted people would be “shocked” by the number of young girls in Britain subjected to FGM. Now we can push her to take concrete action to end FGM in the UK -- please to sign Avaaz' petition now and share with everyone.

For more information, click here.

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