Summary: FORWARD responds to Economist article advocating a partial lifting of the ban on FGM

On 18th June 2016 the Economist published an article titled Female Genital Mutilation: An Agonising Choice, which advocated lifting the blanket ban on FGM in the UK and legalising the ‘least nasty’ forms of the practice. The full article can be found here.

SRT grantee FORWARD, which has worked on ending FGM for over 30 years in the UK and Africa, released a statement condemning the article and urging that the full ban on FGM be maintained.

FORWARD said: “The article is misleading on many levels: firstly FGM is a human rights abuse, like any other human rights abuse there can be no ‘lesser’ form which could ever be acceptable. […] Stating that less harmful forms of FGM have no lasting implications on women and girls is also wholly incorrect. If women who have undergone Type 1 or 2 FGM and not the most severe form of Type 3 were consulted then the physical and also psychological implications of all forms of FGM would become evident. There are also numerous studies which have documented the effect of all types of FGM on a woman’s health and wellbeing for the rest of her life. To state that a lesser form of FGM would be better is to undermine the suffering of millions of women worldwide.

[…] As an organisation that speaks directly to and works alongside FGM affected communities and grassroots organisations, FORWARD knows that massive strides have been made in countries outlawing the practice, and can see the impact of actions being taken by the communities affected by FGM in changing attitudes and behaviour. It may take a while to see the effects of these changes in behaviour reflected in statistics that are collected over many years, but to dismiss that they may be happening suggests a lack of knowledge.”

Full response from FORWARD’s website:

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