Lynne Featherstone MP and Liberal Democrat European human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford MEP have strongly criticised Conservatives MEPs who voted against a European Parliament resolution today condemning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Four Conservative MEPs – Marta Andreasen, Nirj Deva, Sajjad Karim and Timothy Kirkhope – voted against the motion to condemn FGM, and several UKIP and Conservative MEPs including Nigel Farage abstained.
Lynne Featherstone commented:
“It is deeply shocking that so many Tory and UKIP MEPs today refused to condemn female genital mutilation.
“I have made it a priority of this government to end this horrific practice within a generation. That means working through international organisations like the EU to help shape cultural attitudes worldwide.
“Sending out mixed signals like this completely undermines the global fight against FGM on which Britain is playing a leading role in support of the many African countries who have already banned the practice.”
Sarah Ludford added:
“Today’s vote was a betrayal of the millions of young girls who have been subjected to genital mutilation the world over.
“Tory and UKIP MEPs would do better to put their personal attitudes towards the EU aside when it comes to something as important as the fight against FGM. Surely we should be standing united in condemning this barbaric practice and working together to end it.”
Notes to editors:
Lynne Featherstone MP is a minister in the Department for International Development and UK Ministerial Champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. In March this year she announced a £35m DFID programme to help end FGM worldwide within a generation.
Today’s European Parliament resolution stated: “strongly condemns the disgraceful practice of female genital mutilation in certain parts of Africa, honour killings, gender-based abortion and forced marriage;”
Four Conservative MEPs voted against (p.61-62), four Conservative MEPs and five UKIP MEPs abstained: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/doc/votingResult/P7_PV(2013)12-11(RCV)_en.pdf
The coalition government has set up a new NSPCC helpline to allow children affected by FGM to talk to someone in confidence: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/news-and-views/our-news/child-protection-news/female-genital-mutilation-helpline/fgm-helpline-launched_wda96863.html
The coalition government has also established a £35m fund to help communities across Africa get the support they need to reject this barbaric practice: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-help-end-female-genital-mutilation