Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Protecting girls from FGM by violating other human rights?

The 15th of June I stumbled upon this article published on Global Post in which the Prime Minister of UK, David Cameron, in order to protect girls at risk of FGM has decided that the best strategy is to "take away passports from immigrants" who are willing to go back to their own countries during summer holiday.
The closing of school, in many countries, coincides also with what is called "vacation cutting". Girls who reach the "right" age,  belonging to communities from FGM practing countries travel home to be cut, what is considered a mandatory ritual for girls to fit cultural, traditional and religious beliefs. 

UK expressed its position against FGM almost 30 years ago, but only since  2003 it has been illegal. 

Female Genital Mutilation is a violation of human rights, it violates the rights of children and women. Girls and women who are subjected to FGM are condemned to live a life with severe psycho -physical consequences without mentioning the high risk of death. 
It's a global issue and it is estimated that 86 millions of girls are still at risk to be cut  in the next 15 years. 

Each country should have a law against FGM. However the exhistence of the law should pass through a cultural and education transformation of the society and not only in the countries of immigration but simoultaneously in the countries of origin.
Within the communities who support the practice,  FGM is perceived as a cultural, traditional, religious must for every girl... in order to reach a point in which the law against FGM is correctly perceived it's inevitable to provide everyone (not only immigrants) with proper access to information, training, educational programs, accessible professionale  services (health care, laws), safe shared spaces in which talking about FGM becomes a norm, part of a public dialogue with no stigmatization or discrimination. 

About Cameron's decision to fight FGM taking away immigrant's passports I totally desagree...
Holding a passport means that you have a status, being citizien of your country. Holding a passport is the right of every human being, having the chance to move on the map of the world is a human right. Taking away a passport from immigrants who are suspected to cut their daughters it is again another violation of human rights. How do you fight a violation of human rights by violating other human rights?
Are we sure that those immigrants who will be taken away their passport would not find an underground  way to perform FGM on their girls?
How do you prove evidence of a suspect?
Are you sure that all those "suspected" immigrants would really cut their daughters? And if not?
Are we sure that ending FGM in UK will mean that the FGM practicing countries from which immigrants in UK come from,  will be free of this practice as well?
Is Cameron's strategy the only possible one?
Last summer, during the Girl's Summit, Cameron decided that every social worker, doctor, nurse and teacher will be provived with a training kit to tackle FGM and aquire skills about the issue, it was indeed a good move though still lacking of reality.  Now  to reinforce  this urgent need to protect at-risk girls has gone beyond limits.  Not because girls shouldn't be protected at all costs but not by removing their parent's passports. This shows that still there's something missing by UK political institutions in terms of understanding the whole problem from its roots. 

There are so many social categories who might be suspected to have intention to do harm, do we remove from them, on the basis of a suspect, their passports? (And I'm taking about UK citizens).
An let me speculate more: if a Kenyan citizen or an Ethiopian or Somalian, or Gambian citizen apply for a UK working visa  or residence permit for him/her and family will he/she be asked to prove that he has not daughters who one day might be conducted back home during summer holidays to be cut? (just because they come from FGM practicing areas?) And if he/she has, what will the UK embassy do? Will not issue those visas and permits?

At least Spain has made up another way to tackle FGM on immigrants girls,  a more feasible way in which parents who intend to travel back home, are asked to sign a declaration promising that their girls will not be subject to FGM, as part of the national protocol on the practice. Parents who refuse to sign that declaration, at that point only, will be reported to child protection services. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015


So i' m back from Abbracciamondo Festival. It has been such a nice experience for many reasons:
Dancer, Guerina Zanardini, Me, Jali Diebate, Silvia Turelli, Simona Bertoni

I performed with the awesome artist Jali Diabate, who is a master kora player from the Casamance region, in Senegal and comes from an ancient family of jalis (musicians and storytellers). He played his KORA enchanting the audience.

Jali Diabate and his Kora
On stage

We performed, Jali and I, having on stage the dancers of the Dance School Danz-Azzurra, directed by wonderful Guerina Zanardini, who expressed and shared their emotions on FGM through the body language.

Not to mention that we had a gorgeous venue: the cloister of a former convent with a nice fountain and two huge magnolia trees. This special space, not having a traditional stage,  gave us the chance to be close to the audience and interact in the end.

The Cut




Bodies talk
When everything started
exchanging ideas

Final words

Thank's to the organizers of the Festival, Silvia Turelli, Simona Bertoni and all the rest of the team who made possible this event to raise awareness on Female Genital Mutilation in the internationally well known area of   Val Camonica.

The audience was surprised and shocked to hear about what FGM, I was very happy at the end knowing that through THE CUT, Jali Diabate and I made possible a unique moment of empathy.