Updated: Tuesday, 7th April 2020 @ 8:10am

Government 'consistently refuse to support prevention' of barbaric genital mutilation, says human rights advocate

Government 'consistently refuse to support prevention' of barbaric genital mutilation, says human rights advocate

| By Aidan Gregory

A Manchester human rights organisation has condemned the government for 'consistently refusing' to support the prevention of 339 cases of female genital multilation in the North West.

A report conducted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, found 229 active cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in northern England, along with 110 cases which were identified during the consultation process.

FGM is a common procedure in Africa and the Middle East which involves the complete or partial removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, and is recognised in the international community as a gross violation of human rights. 

Dr Rhetta Moran, a patron for Manchester-based human-rights group RAPAR, said: “The Department of Health is a department in a Government that has consistently refused to support FGM prevention by granting refugee status to women and girls at risk of female genital mutilation if they are returned to their countries of origin.”

“The stated aim of collecting the information contained in this report is described as to begin to gain a national picture of the prevalence of FGM to support the Department of Health’s FGM prevention programme."

In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the elimination of female genital mutilation.

It is estimated that there are over 125 million girls and women alive today who have suffered FGM in 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East. Yet increasingly, FGM is also being discovered in the west.

Last year, MM broke the story of 15-year-old school girl Olayinka Olatunde, who fled from Nigeria with her mother and settled in Rochdale after being threatened with FGM.

The procedure killed her eight-year-old sister in 1992, and after the UK government threatened her with deportation she said she would rather die than return to Nigeria and undergo the practice.

“Our campaign about Olayinka Olatunde is a case in point," Dr Moran said.

"The hypocrisy of the Government's position on this matter begs a number of questions about the sincerity of their stated aims here. 

"The report goes on to say that 'no figure is presented for the population (children and women) at risk of FGM.'  They could reduce that figure – by one at least – by granting refugee status to Olayinka Olatunde."

Of all the regions surveyed, London has the worst problem, with 1,006 active cases and 219 newly identified cases.

The Midlands and East of England recorded 355 active cases and 90 newly identified cases.

The report can be found by clicking here.

Image courtesy of Unicef Ethiopia, with thanks.