On 19 February 2001 FORWARD held its third annual conference to address the issue of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK with the title strengthening our combined efforts for a future without female genital mutilation. The conference was extremely successful in bringing together NGOs government representatives, community organisations, interagency professionals, researchers and academics from all over the UK, as well as parts of Europe and Africa.
Key speeches included government initiatives to eliminate FGM in the UK, FGM as a human rights issue, the ethics of research, and funding FGM initiatives. The day highlighted the need for greater collaboration between NGOs, statutory agencies and community organisations to develop practical and effective community programmes, the need to lobby for an amendment to the current law against FGM and the need for research on the prevalence of FGM in the UK. The day also highlighted refugee and asylum issues, and the need for comprehensive and widespread training for professionals.
Naana Otoo-Oyortey, chair of FORWARD said, “Female genital mutilation has become an extremely pressing issue in the UK which must be addressed and understood by all. This conference will play an important part in helping us to work together more effectively and move the campaign in the UK forward towards elimination of this violation of a young girl’s human rights.”
FORWARD hopes that the conference will forge stronger collaborative links between the key players and stake holders in the campaign against FGM and in the work that is being done to stop the practice both in the UK and in Africa.