* Equality Now and Safe Hands for Girls to co-host high level ‘U.S. End FGM/C Summit’ on December 2 in Washington DC, (with support from Wallace Global Fund and Human Dignity Foundation)
* Official Summit announcement was made by U.S. Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, at 11am on the Senate Floor on September 22. The event video is here.
* Summit to provide comprehensive blueprint for relevant government departments (Health and Human Services, Education, Justice) to work together to end this human rights violation and to provide services to FGM survivors
* Summit will demand that U.S. to fight FGM nationally and show true global leadership on ending it * September 22 will also see official launch of damning Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on female genital mutilation (FGM) by Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, which highlights failure of the U.S. to deal with this issue to date – particularly due to lack of guidelines and allocated funding
* 513,000 American women and girls affected by FGM (CDC, 2016)
"Half a million is a lot more than one - and for a country like the U.S., even one is too many” said Jaha Dukureh, FGM Survivor and Founder, Safe Hands for Girls. "We need to do more and we need to support survivors already here".
“The summit is a major step forward towards ending this extreme form of violence in the U.S. and around the world” said Shelby Quast, Director, Americas Office, Equality Now. “There is clearly an urgent need to collaboratively develop - across a range of government agencies - a U.S. national action plan to end FGM. There is a movement underway to end FGM and the U.S. can, and should, be a global leader, but we need to get our own house in order first. The recommendations coming out of the summit will provide a blueprint for years to come on how government departments can collaborate to end this human rights violation. It is vital that FGM is part of child protection systems. ‘Frontline’ professionals such as teachers, health personnel and social workers should be adequately trained on warning signs and how to support survivors, including the provision of sensitive and effective treatment during childbirth and protecting girls at risk.”
“As the GAO reports shows, the United States is clearly not doing enough to protect women and girls from this brutal human rights violation. Federal agencies must step up to provide concrete plans to bring this practice to an end,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “Ad-hoc efforts are not enough. That is why the U.S. Girls Summit is so important. This event will create the groundwork needed to help stop FGM. Many Americans haven’t even heard of FGM or they think it’s some far-away problem. Although it’s illegal, it does happens here, and we shouldn’t stand for it. There are a number of actions our government can take right now to address FGM. It is time for the United States to prioritize ending FGM once and for all.”