FGM

Equality Now calls on the United States Senate & House of Representatives to Pass the Girls Protection Act

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2011 Dec 12

In May 2010, Equality Now issued an urgent alert calling on the United States House of Representatives to pass the “Girls Protection Act” (H.R. 5137) co-sponsored by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA). The legislation aimed at strengthening the 1996 federal law banning female genital mutilation (FGM) and would prohibit the act of transporting a girl abroad in order to subject her to FGM. However, this Act did not pass in Congress last year. It was reintroduced by Rep. Crowley and Rep.

What You Can Do: 

We urge both the United States House of Representatives and Senate to take this critical step toward reaffirming that FGM, in all its forms, is a human rights violation. We also urge that culturally sensitive awareness-raising, education and outreach programs are put in place to protect girls living in the US from FGM. In this regard, Equality Now urges its Women’s Action Network members in the United States to call upon their members of Congress and Senators to cosponsor the pending legislation in both the House and Senate.

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Click here to find your Senators’ contact information. Click here to find your Congressperson’s contact information.

Please keep Equality Now updated on your work and send copies of any replies you receive to: info@equalitynow.org

Letters: 

Dear Senator:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the common situation where girls are taken from the U.S. to their parents’ countries of origin to be subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. FGM is considered a severe human rights violation and the World Health Organization classifies the practice as a reflection of deep rooted inequality between the sexes and an extreme form of discrimination against women.

The WHO estimates that between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, which takes place throughout Africa, certain countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as in locations where FGM-practicing immigrants reside, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. According to an analysis of 2000 U.S. census data conducted by the African Women’s Health Center (AWHC) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, approximately 228,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk for FGM. The data also states that from 1990 to 2000, the number of women who are at risk for FGM grew by approximately 35 percent in this country. A 1996 federal law prohibiting the practice of FGM within the US did not address the risk of girls removed from the country, sometimes to their parents’ countries of origin, to be subjected to FGM.

I am aware that new legislation, the “Girls Protection Act of 2011” (S. 1919) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) aims to close this loophole and strengthen the 1996 federal law. This legislation would make it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the US out of the country for purposes of FGM. As my United States Senator, I urge you to cosponsor S. 1919 and take this critical step toward reaffirming that FGM, in all its forms, is a human rights violation. I also urge you to support the implementation of culturally sensitive awareness-raising, education and outreach programs to protect girls living in the US from FGM.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely

Dear Congressperson:

I am writing to express my deep concern about the common situation where girls are taken to their countries of origin to be subjected to Female Genital Mutilation. FGM is considered a severe human rights violation and the World Health Organization classifies the practice as a reflection of deep rooted inequality between the sexes and an extreme form of discrimination against women.

The WHO estimates that between 100 and 140 million girls and women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, which takes place throughout Africa, certain countries in Asia and the Middle East, as well as in locations where FGM-practicing immigrants reside, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. According to an analysis of 2000 U.S. census data conducted by the African Women’s Health Center (AWHC) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, approximately 228,000 women and girls have undergone or are at risk for FGM. The data also states that from 1990 to 2000, the number of women who are at risk for FGM grew by approximately 35 percent in this country. A 1996 federal law prohibiting the practice of FGM within the US did not address the risk of girls removed from the country, sometimes to their parents’ countries of origin, to be subjected to FGM.

I am aware that the “Girls Protection Act” (HR 2221) co-sponsored by Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) aims to close this loophole and strengthen the 1996 federal law. The Crowley-Bono Mack extraterritoriality amendment or “vacation provision” would make it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the US out of the country for purposes of FGM. As my representative, I urge you cosponsor H.R. 2221 and take this critical step toward reaffirming that FGM, in all its forms, is a human rights violation. I also urge you to support the implementation of culturally sensitive awareness-raising, education and outreach programs to protect girls living in the US from FGM.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely

Equality Now named Secretariat of first UK All Party Parliamentary Group to Address Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12 December 2011
Contact: LONDON: Efua Dorkenoo, (44) (0)20-7839-5456, edorkenoo@equalitynow.org
NEW YORK: Karen Asare, (01) 212-586-0906, media@equalitynow.org
NAIROBI: Mary Ciugu, (254) 20-271-9913/9832, equalitynownairobi@equalitynow.org

Pioneering, anti-FGM Activist Efua Dorkenoo Presents the Issues and Challenges Faced by those Working to Eliminate FGM at the Ground-breaking Launch

Advocacy Director for FGM Efua Dorkenoo addresses Parliament at launch of UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on FGM

12/7/2011 -- Jane Ellison, MP -- "New Parliamentary Group on Female Genital Mutilation launched" Advocacy Director for FGM Efua Dorkenoo addresses Parliament at launch of new UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on FGM.

Girls in U.S. at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation will be Further Protected with Extraterritoriality Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
29 November 2011
Contact:  WASHINGTON, DC:  Shelby Quast, 202-841-5630, squast@equalitynow.org
NEW YORK: Karen Asare, 212-586-0906, media@equalitynow.org
 

Equality Now & SOAWR Release Guide on Groundbreaking Protocol on Rights of Women in Africa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 July 2011
Contact: NAIROBI: Mary Ciugu, (254) 20 271-9832/913, equalitynownairobi@equalitynow.org

Equality Now and Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) Release New Practical Guide on Using the Groundbreaking Protocol on Rights of Women in Africa

How-to-Guide will Equip Activists with Strong Tools to Protect and Advance African Women's Rights

Liberian Jury Delivers "Guilty" Verdict on Ruth Berry Peal's Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 July 2011
Contact: NAIROBI: Mary Ciugu, (254) 20 271-9832/913, equalitynownairobi@equalitynow.org
NEW YORK: Karen Asare, (01) 212-586-0906, media@equalitynow.org

Dr. Isatou Touray

Risking Everything to End Harmful Traditional Practices in The Gambia
Isatou Touray

1. What kinds of changes have you seen in the practice of FGM in The Gambia in your years of working on this issue? Is it declining?

Liberia: Ensure justice in the case of Ruth Berry Peal who was forcibly subjected to FGM

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2011 Mar 24
Update Date: 
2011 Jul 8
Update: 

Following a month of deliberation, a guilty verdict was announced on July 8, 2011 by the jury in Ruth Berry Peal’s case on charges of kidnapping, felonious restraint and theft.  The sentencing of the two women will take place this week by the judge, who in closing made references to the Liberian Constitution and Article 4(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women’s Protocol), which states: “Every woman shall be entitled to respect for her life and the integrity and security of her person. All forms of exploitation, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.”

Equality Now and its Liberian partners, the Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) and Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), welcome the jury’s decision and are eagerly awaiting the sentencing of the perpetrators.  We are also continuing to urge the government of Liberia to take expeditious action to protect girls and women from female genital mutilation, and, to this end, calling on the Liberian government to stop issuing permits to the FGM practitioners, to initiate the process towards enactment of a law criminalizing FGM and to invest in public education against the practice.

We are grateful to you for your steadfast advocacy for the rights of women and girls. Together we can make a difference, and a better world. Please continue to write to the Liberian government to enact a law against FGM and to stop issuing permits to FGM practitioners.  We will keep you informed of future developments.

Ruth Berry Peal
What You Can Do: 

Please write to the Liberian authorities noted below urging them to honor Liberia’s international and regional human rights commitments by enacting and enforcing comprehensive legislation against FGM as well as supporting educational outreach to relevant communities and local chiefs on the harms of FGM. Furthermore, urge the Minister of Internal Affairs to immediately cease the practice of issuing permits to schools where FGM is conducted. Also ask them to ensure that Ruth Peal obtains justice and remedy for the abuse she suffered. Because Ruth is threatened by members of the secret society and traditional heads who support the secret society, please request that the government provide her with immediate protection.

>> TAKE ACTION NOW!

Letters should go to:

H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
P.O. Box 9001
Capitol Hill, Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel:             +231 644 4696     
Email: info@emansion.gov.lr

Dr. Christiana Tah
Minister of Justice
P.O. Box 0123
Ashmun Street
Monrovia, Republic of Liberia
Tel:            + 231 669 7205     
Email: info@moj.gov.lr
ctah@aol.com

H.E. Vabah K. Gayflor
Minister for Gender and Development
P.O. Box 10-1375
110 UN Drive & Gurley Street
1000 Monrovia 10
Republic of Liberia
Tel:             +231 651 6434     
Email: veegayflor@yahoo.com

H.E. Harrison Kahnweah
Minister of Internal Affairs
Executive Mansion Ground
Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel:             +231 651 3358     
Email: hkarnwea@yahoo.com
http://www.mia.gov.lr

Letters: 

Dear [Your Excellency/Minister]:

I am writing to express my deep concern over the high incidence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Liberia. It is estimated that Over 58 percent of Liberian women have undergone the practice of FGM, which is carried out through a politically influential female secret society known as the Sande society, as part of an initiation rite into womanhood. Many girls are subjected to FGM at traditional schools for the Sande society.  I am concerned to learn that Liberian Ministry of Internal Affairs issues permits to women who run these schools and carry out FGM on the girls in attendance.  

Women from non-FGM practicing communities may also be subjected to FGM in Liberia either through marriage into practicing groups or by force as was the case with Ruth Berry Peal, who was subjected to this practice in 2010 due to an order issued by a Gola chief presiding over her dispute with two women from an FGM practicing community.  Ruth was abducted from her home by the women and was taken to the ‘bush’ where she was forcefully genitally mutilated. She has filed a suit against the two women who mutilated her   and, as a result, has been receiving threats from the community to drop the case.

Despite the Liberian constitution which guarantees the rights of life, liberty and security of person to all Liberians and your ratification of various international and regional human rights treaties that mandate the protection of women and girls from the practice of FGM, (including the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Women’s Protocol), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), the Liberian government has failed to provide protection to the women and girls from being subjected to FGM.

Significantly, I note that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the treaty body that monitors compliance with CEDAW, in examining your country’s report in 2009, urged you to “enact without delay . . . legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation and to ensure that offenders are prosecuted and punished in accordance with the severity of this violation” and to “immediately stop issuing permits to practitioners as currently being done by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” It encouraged Liberia to “extend and accelerate implementation of programmes designed to sensitize and provide alternate sources of income for those who perform female genital mutilation” and to “strengthen its awareness-raising and educational efforts, targeted at both women and men, including government officials at all levels, chiefs and other traditional and community leaders, . . to eliminate the practice of female genital mutilation and its underlying cultural justification.”

I urge you to take immediate action, as is your obligation under Article 5 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and under other international human rights treaties, and enact and enforce a law prohibiting FGM; to immediately cease the practice of issuing permits to FGM practitioners; and to institute other protective mechanisms that will guarantee protection to all women and girls in Liberia from undergoing FGM. I also respectfully request that you do all in your power to ensure that Ruth Berry Peal receives justice and protection. 

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

 

Tanzania: Equality Now calls upon the government of Tanzania to halt the on-going genital mutilation of girls and women in the Tarime district

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2010 Dec 3

Equality Now is deeply concerned about reports that over 5,000 girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) during the forthcoming December holiday season in a number of villages of the Tarime District in the Mara Region.

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and call on the Tanzanian government to immediately ensure that girls from Tarime are protected from FGM and the perpetrators who have carried out the practice there are arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Also urge the government of the United Republic of Tanzanian to ensure that the police take decisive action to enforce the law for the benefit of all girls and women in Tanzania at risk of FGM and that they take other preventative and protective measures as appropriate in accordance with Tanzania’s national and international obligations. TAKE ACTION!

Send letters to:

His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
President of the United Republic of Tanzania
Office of the President
P.O Box 9120
Dar-es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel Office: +255 22 211 6679 or +255 211 0972 or +255 22 211 6538
Personal Mobile: +255 754 777 777
Fax: +255 22 212 8585 or +255 22 211 3425
Email: jkikwete@yahoo.com

Hon. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda
Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania
Office of the Prime Minister
P.O. Box 980, Dodoma.
P.O. Box 3021
Dar- es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel: +255 22 211 6798, +255 22 232 4904

Hon. Celina Ompeshi Kombani,
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
PO Box 9050
Dar-es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel: +255 22 211 3234 or +255 22 212 3803
Fax: +255 22 211 3236
Email: dafrosa_mniko@yahoo.com; katibumkuu@sheria.go.tz

Commissioner Said Ally Mwema
Inspector General of Police
PO Box 9141
Dar-Es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel. Office: +255 22 211 3461
Personal mobile: +255 754 785 557
Fax: +255 22 213 6556
Email: smwema@yahoo.com, or s_mwema@yahoo.com, or s.mwema@yahoo.com

Hon. Sophia Mathayo Simba
Minister of Community Development, Gender and Children's Affairs
PO Box 3448
Dar-es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel: +255 22 213 2057 +255 22 211 5074; +255 22 211 5635
Fax: +255 22 213 3647
Email: info_wic@uccmail.co.tz

Hon. Shamsi Vuai Nahodha
Minister of Home Affairs
P.O. Box 2218
Dar-es-Salaam, TANZANIA
Tel: +255 22 211 7108, +255 22 213 36322, +255 22 211 2034; +255 22 211 7353
Fax: +255 22 212 2617, +255 22 213 9675
Email: comments@moha.go.tz; ps@moha.go.tz

Mr. Z. Munisi
Assistant Superintendent of Police
Police headquarters- Gender Department
Fax: + 255 22 213 1174
Dar-es-Salaam, TANZANIA

Letters: 

[Date]

Dear [President] [Prime Minister] [Minister] [Inspector General] [Assistant Superintendent of Police]:

I am writing to express my deep concern about reports that over 5,000 girls are at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM) during the forthcoming December holiday season in a number of villages of the Tarime District in the Mara Region. Tarime has a very high rate of FGM which is performed on cohorts of girls in ceremonies that take place at least every two years in almost the entire district.  There are reports suggesting that over 250 girls may have already been subjected to FGM in Tarime over the past several days and more girls will undergo the practice as it is planned that genital mutilation will be taking place every day from now until mid January 2011. 

Despite the fact that FGM is prohibited under the Sexual Offences Special Provision Act 1998, the government seems to have done nothing to prevent these girls from undergoing FGM including particularly in such publically known ceremonies.  The police in Tarime district have so far failed to arrest any perpetrators who have been subjecting girls to FGM, inspite of their obligation under Section 5 of the Police Force Ordinance Cap.322, to “detect and prevent crime and apprehend the perpetrators”.

In failing to take action to prevent girls from undergoing FGM, the Tanzanian government is failing its obligations under regional and international human rights instruments.  Article 5(d) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, requires the government to protect women and girls at risk from being subjected to FGM.  Section 21 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires the government to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices and in particular those “prejudicial to the health or life of the child.”  Tanzania is also a party to other international instruments that prohibit the practice of harmful traditional practices including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Please take immediate and urgent action to ensure that girls from Tarime are protected from FGM and the perpetrators who have carried out the practice are arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Also ensure that the police take decisive action to enforce the law for the benefit of all girls and women in Tanzania at risk of FGM and that they take other preventative and protective measures as appropriate in accordance with Tanzania’s national and international obligations.

I thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely
 

The Gambia: Call on the Government of The Gambia to ensure a fair trial for anti-FGM activists, Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho.

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2010 Oct 18
Update Date: 
2010 Oct 20
Update: 

UPDATE, 20 October 2010: Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho released on bail

Prominent Gambian anti-FGM activists, Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho were released on bail on October 20, 2010. Equality Now continues to advocate for their right to a fair trial and will continue to monitor the case. Please keep up the pressure by calling on The Gambian authorities to safeguard their right to a fair trial.

URGENT ALERT: THE GAMBIA
18 October 2010

Call on the Government of The Gambia to release immediately on bail women’s rights activists, Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho

What You Can Do: 

Please join Equality Now and call on the Gambian government to immediately release on bail Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho. Also urge the Gambian government to protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) through the enactment of a law and other preventive and protective mechanisms in accordance with its national and international obligations. Send letters to:

His Excellency Yahya Jammeh
Office of the President
State House
Banjul
The Gambia
Email: saidy.momodou@yahoo.com
Fax: +220 420 1936

Minister of the Interior and NGO Affairs
Ousman Sonko
21 OAU Boulevard
Banjul
The Gambia
Email: oussonko@yahoo.com

Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy
Vice-President
State House
Banjul
The Gambia
Fax: +220 422 4012

Letters: 

[Dear Excellency/Minister]:

I am writing to you about the arrest, detention and denial of bail of Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho of The Gambia Committee Against Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP). I understand that they have been allegedly charged with misappropriation of funds despite their having been cleared by an initial investigation and denied bail when they had a right to get bail.  The government of The Gambia is bound by regional and international instruments that provide the granting of bail where bail conditions are fulfilled. Article 9 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that any persons awaiting trial must be granted bail.  In addition, Section 19 of the Gambian Constitution confirms bail as a constitutional right.

I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho upon bail. Your government must ensure that these women are guaranteed their right to a free and fair trial in an independent and impartial court; security and dignity of person, and freedom from unlawful detention as guaranteed in Articles 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and Article 19 of the Constitution of the Republic of Gambia. I also urge that if they are not tried within a reasonable time, they be released unconditionally without prejudice to any further proceedings which may be brought against them.

Further in keeping with its regional and national obligations, the Gambian government must protect girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) through the enactment of a law and other preventive and protective mechanisms. The Gambia has ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa which, in Article 5(b), requires States Parties to prohibit FGM through legislative measures backed by sanctions. In addition, it has ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which, in Section 21, requires States Parties to eliminate harmful social and cultural practices and in particular those “prejudicial to the health or life of the child.”  The Gambia is also a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which both call for member states to take measures to protect girls, including from harmful cultural practices.

Please take immediate steps to enact and enforce anti-FGM legislation and to support the work of groups such as GAMCOTRAP that are working to end this practice.

Respectfully yours

 

Syndicate content