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Archive for April, 2017

London Assembly urges mayor to lead campaign on FGM

New report finds half of female genital mutilation cases are in London, with 65,000 girls at risk across the country.

The London Assembly, an elected body, has called on the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan to lead a campaign to end “the hidden crime” of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the capital.

An estimated 170,000 women and girls in Britain have undergone FGM and 65,000 preteen girls are thought to be at risk, it said in a report.

The London Assembly is a part of the Greater London Authority that scrutinises the activities of the mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor’s annual budget and to reject the mayor’s draft statutory strategies.

Half of FGM cases recorded in the country are in London, where affected communities include Somalis, Sierra Leoneans, Eritreans and Sudanese.

The ritual, done for cultural, traditional or religious reasons, involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. In some cases, the vaginal opening is also sewn up.

“FGM remains a hidden crime – still taking place behind closed doors, with many girls still at risk,” Jennette Arnold, deputy chairwoman of the elected assembly, said in a statement.

FGM: 123 victims treated in Wales last year, figures show

A case of female genital mutilation was discovered every three days, on average, by maternity staff in Wales last year.

New figures obtained by BBC Wales show 123 victims of FGM were found by midwives or maternity doctors in 2016.

A further 44 children under the age of 18 were highlighted as vulnerable to the practice.

Charity Welsh Women’s Aid said figures showed just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Campaigners have previously called for a dedicated clinic to be opened in Walesto help FGM victims.

The statistics, provided by the seven Welsh health boards after a Freedom of Information request by BBC Wales, showed the highest number of cases – 53 – were recorded by Aneurin Bevan health board.

Lebanon rape law: Wedding dresses hang in Beirut sea front protest

Activists campaigning to change Lebanon’s law on rape have staged a macabre protest on Beirut’s famous sea front.

What appeared to be more than 30 white wedding dresses were hung from nooses, strung up between the palm trees.

Lebanese law currently allows a rapist to be exonerated if he marries his victim.

The activists are pressing to have the legislation abolished at an upcoming session of parliament.

Minister for Women’s Affairs Jean Oghassabian described the article as being “from the stone age”.

“There are 31 days in a month and every single day, a woman may be raped and forced to marry her rapist,” said Alia Awada from the non-governmental organisation Abaad.

A proposal to scrap Article 522 of the penal code, which deals with rape, assault, kidnapping and forced marriage, was introduced last year and approved by a parliamentary committee in February.

In first prosecution, female US doctor gets charged with FGM

A female Michigan doctor was charged on Thursday with performing female genital mutilation on minor girls aged 7.

This is the first time an indictment for FGM has been filed against a doctor since FGM on minors was outlawed in the United States twenty years ago.

Jumana Nagarwala, 44, performed the procedures in the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit. If guilty, she will face up to 10 years in prison.

“Despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth

Blanco said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”

One of the girls was told the procedure would “get germs out of her,” while the other described pain radiating down to her ankles.

International movement to end FGM develops

Unless the media talks about celebrities, politics, or President Donald Trump, our country doesn’t want to hear it.

But an ongoing movement is developing throughout the world to stop girls and women from undergoing female genital mutilation.

Primarily performed on girls between infancy and age 15, female genital mutilation, or FGM, entails all procedures that intentionally remove or injure female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

Though FGM is primarily concentrated in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, the United States is not excluded. An estimated 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. have undergone or are at risk of being exposed to FGM, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.

Who would have foreseen that over half a million girls are affected by FGM in the U.S. alone?

International movement to end FGM develops

Surge in ‘Honour Crimes’ and Forced Marriages in London

So-called “honour crimes” have risen by 40 per cent in five years in London, with the number of forced marriages doubling in the same period.

According to the figures, obtained by the Evening Standard, some of the children involved in the abuse were younger than ten-years-old.

Since 2012, honour crimes reported to the Metropolitan Police rose to 1,081 and those relating to forced marriages shot up to 367.

Women and girls were the victims in the vast majority of reported incidents, with over half coming from “Asian” backgrounds, the paper reports.

Knives and guns were involved in more than 70 incidents, and dozens of rapes and other sexual crimes were reported.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Faulkner, of the Met’s Community Safety Unit, said the crimes stem from communities using “cultural and/or religious justifications for male violence against women and girls and other people”.

They were often based on traditions whereby “an individual, family and community’s honour is weighted on women and girls”, he said, including refusing to go along with a marriage.

“We see an increase in these types of offences as a positive step, an indication that victims have more confidence to report offences to police and seek the support they need”, he added.

Less than half UK teachers say they have received training to spot signs of forced marriage

Less than half of teachers said they had been given training to recognise the signs of forced marriage, according to a new survey.

One-third feared they could be seen as racist or otherwise prejudiced if they reported concerns about honour-based abuse including female genital mutilation, said the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) which conducted the poll of its members.

The findings come after the NSPCC said a rise in the number of cases dealt with by the Government’s forced marriage unit (FMU) was “deeply worrying”.

Just 48 per cent of ATL members said they had been trained on how to spot the signs of forced marriage, while 71 per cent said the same of female genital mutilation. Twenty-nine per cent worried about how they would be perceived if they raised concerns over child abuse linked to religion and belief.