Sahiyo and 31 organisations petition the UN to invest more towards FGC in Asia
On January 2, Sahiyo, along with a coalition of 31 civil society organisations from around the world, launched an online petition urging the United Nations to invest more towards research and support to end Female Genital Cutting in Asia. Why this petition?
According to the U.N, at least 200 million women in 30 countries have been subjected to FGC. However, these statistics are largely restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, leaving out a large number of women from other countries – particularly in Asia – where FGC has been reported.
FGM/C is known to occur in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, Brunei, Russia (Dagestan), Bangladesh, and Iran. Yet, Asian countries fall outside the scope of the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to Accelerate the Abandonment of FGM/C. As a result, almost no resources have been invested to collect data and provide support services to women and girls who are affected by this violation of their human rights in these countries. How can the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending FGC by 2030 be met, if no resources are devoted to understanding the nature and prevalence of FGC amongst Asian communities?
This was the reason why Sahiyo formed a coalition of 31 organisations, from India, USA, UK, Pakistan, and Singapore, to petition the UN to take FGC in Asia more seriously. This Change.org petition calls upon the global community, particularly the United Nations, international foundations and donor countries/agencies, to put in more funding, support, and resources towards research, data collection, advocacy and survivor-centred support facilities in the above-mentioned Asian countries. The petition already has close to 400 supporters.
To read and sign the petition, click here. To read more about why Sahiyo launched the petition, click here.
In Germany, Sahiyo participates in kick-off event for Women’s March
On January 20th, the Modern Abolitionist Global Campaign will start a two-day campaign, with a kick -off event that will be a screening of movies dealing with gender violence and discrimination against women. The following day, on January 21st, the Modern Abolitionist Global Campaign will hold the Frankfurt Women’s March on Washington.
Sahiyo will support the kick-off event, in which there will be a screening of A Pinch of Skin, a documentary produced by Sahiyo’s co-founder Priya Goswami, on the topic of female genital cutting in the Dawoodi Bohra community.
During the event, Sahiyo co-founders will be joining via Skype for a Q&A session with audience members. The documentary, Girl Rising, about the importance of educating girls to break the cycle of poverty will also be screened. To learn more, contact the organizers here.
Sahiyo co-founders featured in Jaipur Women’s Blog
In December and January, three of Sahiyo’s co-founders were interviewed and featured in Jaipur Women’s Blog, a feminist publication from Rajasthan, India. The blog regularly publishes stories on women’s empowerment in various fields. Its reporters interviewed Sahiyo members Mariya, Insia and Aarefa not just about their efforts to end Female Genital Cutting, but also about their work in other spheres.
In her interview, Mariya spoke about her experience of being subjected to Khatna as a child and her current involvement with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, which is working on passing legislation to criminalise FGC in the state. Mariya also spoke of her work with survivors of domestic violence and the challenges in addressing domestic violence among Asian diaspora communities in the United States. Read her interview here.
Insia spoke about her work as a filmmaker and how her own experience of child sexual abuse led her to make award-winning films on the subjects of CSA, rape and the cycle of violence. As the founder of The Hands of Hope Foundation, Insia spoke about the workshops she conducts in schools to raise awareness about CSA, and as the co-founder of Sahiyo, she spoke about the challenges in reaching out to Bohras and saving girls from the cut. Read her interview here.
Aarefa, meanwhile, spoke about how her experience of Khatna first led to confrontations with her mother and eventually to a decision to work more publicly to end the practice. She spoke about FGC as a patriarchal practice and the role of men and the media in helping to eliminate it. Read her interview here.
Speak Out on FGM's petition to U.N. gathers steam
On the eve of December 10, 2016, which marked an end to the global 16 Days of Activism campaign to end violence against women and girls, Speak Out On FGM - a collective of FGM/C survivors from the Bohra community - launched a signature petition on Change.org
The petition, signed by more than 30 women involved in the campaign to end FGM/C in the Bohra community, seeks to build stronger UN recognition that will not only bring more awareness to the practice in the country, but also enable Bohra women and men to make official appeals to the Indian government to introduce larger policy-level changes in the country.
According to Speak Out on FGM, wider recognition at the global level will hopefully speed up the process of instituting government and international mechanisms to highlight and promote measures to eradicate FGM/C in India.
To see the petition, click here.
To read more on the petition, click here.