U.K., International Community Should Follow Africa’s Lead On Efforts To Stop FGM

“Last month the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) announced that £35 million [$53.3 million] would be provided to help eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) in Africa and elsewhere,” Efua Dorkenoo, advocacy director of the FGM program for Equality Now, writes in the Guardian’s “Global Development Professionals Network.” She continues, “This is a clear indication that the U.K. is committed to ending violence against women and girls (VAWG), in line with the eradication of extreme economic inequality,” adding, “This also reflects the high-level panel’s aim of ensuring that wealthier countries play a direct role in benefiting developing countries and is a step in the right direction towards integrating human rights into foreign policy.”

“With this new source of funding, the U.K. has positioned itself as a true global leader. However, it is not starting from scratch and should take the lead from Africa,” Dorkenoo states, noting, “The protocol of the African charter on human and peoples’ rights on the rights of women in Africa, which is currently in force — spells out the comprehensive approach to address FGM and other forms of VAWG. It says states should take all necessary child protection, legislative and education measures to eliminate such practices and provide support to survivors.” She highlights progress against the practice in Burkina Faso, which “has seen a 27.5 percent reduction in FGM between older and younger women,” and concludes, “If we move carefully, the development advances we can now make will provide long-term benefits. However, it is essential that we follow Africa’s lead and recognize successes where they are already taking place” (4/22).

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