Valerie in launch of parliamentary group on Female Genital Mutilation

On 7 December 2011 the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was launched at a meeting in Parliament. Valerie was elected as Vice-Chair.

Valerie said:

“I am delighted to have been elected as Vice-Chair of this new group, and pleased that so many colleagues across all main parties have joined. It is vital to keep up the momentum on this issue: FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 – the law was reinforced in 2003 – yet there have been no prosecutions for FGM-related offences in the UK.

“FGM is recognised internationally by the United Nations as a serious human rights violation. Over 80,000 girls and women could be at risk in England and Wales. As an early priority, the Group will call on the Government to support a new study to assess the scale of the problem.

“I am encouraged by the scale of support for this issue in Parliament. The Group received a statement of support from Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office. I look forward to working with my Parliamentary colleagues accorss parties to encourage the Government to take action to eradicate this practice.”

The new Group, made up of over 50 MPs and Peers from all the main political parties, has been formed to raise awareness of FGM in the UK and overseas and to work with the Government and NGOs towards eradicating the harmful practice. The Group was addressed by Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Advocacy Director and expert on FGM from the charity Equality Now, who highlighted the main challenges that are faced in tackling the issue. There was a lively debate on what MPs and Peers could do in Parliament and in their constituencies.

Battersea MP Jane Ellison was elected as the Chair, and Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd is also an officer.