Dear EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs,
On the International Day for Zero Tolerance towards Female Genital Mutilation, we are writing to urge you to put ending this harmful practice at the heart of the EU’s foreign and development policy
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is an appalling form of child abuse and violence against women which continues to blight the lives of millions around the world. We would like to commend the Commission and EEAS for their much-needed action to date on preventing FGM, including successful EU-UNICEF programmes in Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Sudan and India. But we believe more could be done. Through more funding for awareness-raising and grass-roots activity as well as more effective data collection on victims of FGM and greater coordination with national governments, the EU could play an even greater role in protecting young girls and women around the world.
The United Kingdom is playing a major role in the global fight to eradicate FGM under the leadership of International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone MP. In March 2013 Minister Featherstone announced a £35 million programme that will support local projects in Africa, research into the most cost-effective approaches to end FGM and work with diaspora communities to bring about change in their countries of origin as well as in the UK. With the support of the EU and its member states, we can continue to shape cultural attitudes across Europe and worldwide and end this horrific practice.
Given the progress achieved on FGM, making the world truly safe for women and girls is an achievable possibility. We call on you to make this goal a central part of the EU’s external relations. By taking the lead on this issue, the EU can help to end FGM within a generation.
Liberal Democrat MEPs Catherine Bearder, Sarah Ludford, Fiona Hall, Edward McMillan-Scott, Phil Bennion, Rebecca Taylor, Chris Davies
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If you would like to join Lynne Featherstone’s campaign to end FGM within a generation you can visit her website here