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Archive for August, 2018

Nimco Ali: A register can help protect our daughters against FGM

On Friday the Evening Standard broke the story of a three-year-old girl who needed emergency surgery after allegedly being subjected to female genital mutilation. London has the largest FGM-affected population in the UK and earlier this year a Londoner was cleared of arranging FGM on his daughter when she was nine.

The medical evidence proved the child had been subjected to FGM but the jury did not believe the child’s story that her father had arranged for her to be cut twice between 2010 and 2013.

The fact that FGM is happening in London is an open secret and we are not doing enough to fight the issue.

Those committed to harming girls are becoming more and more confident. Thankfully, the three-year-old at the heart of the current case is alive but I fear that soon we will be dealing with dead children as a result of FGM. This is why I am calling for all girls born to women who have undergone FGM to be put on a protection register.

UK Somali teenagers taken ‘on holiday’ and forced into marriage

British Somali teenagers are being taken back to their parents’ homeland under the pretence of a holiday and then kept in detention centres before being forced into marriages.

Under the practice of dhaqan celis, loosely translated as “the rehabilitation community”, Somali children and teenagers are routinely taken to the country, where they are often sent to “rehabilitation” centres.

The centres promote themselves as “re-education” schools to align young people with Somali cultural values and their Somali roots. The Home Office, however, says they tend not to deliver an academic curriculum and are in fact detention centres where young people are routinely subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse. In some cases, those held against their will are told the only way out is to get married.

David Myers, joint head of the Home Office’s forced marriage unit (FMU) in the UK, said: “What we are seeing in these communities is that young people who have antisocial behaviour issues, are getting involved in gangs and drugs, and are being sent back to Somalia by their parents for re-education and rehabilitation.

FGM travel ban ‘keeping family apart for 16 years

A travel ban imposed for 15 years on a child because of concerns that she was at risk of being taken abroad for female genital mutilation is to be challenged in the Court of Appeal. It is the first time an FGM case has reached the court.

The travel ban was imposed on the child, referred to in court as X, who was born in 2016 to a white English mother and an Egyptian father who lives in Egypt and cannot join the mother and X because of visa issues.