Target: Prime Minister, David Cameron
Goal: Urge Prime Minister David Cameron to grant asylum to African women fleeing from female genital mutilation.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to be a pervasive and ingrained procedure in African culture. It is a considered a rite of passage for young girls and the cruel ritual symbolizes a female’s purity and is seen as a way of controlling a female’s sex drive until marriage. This surgical procedure is usually done without anesthetics, which subjects the patient to excruciating pain. The “cutter” that carries out the operation usually has little to no medical knowledge. There are a long list of complications and adverse long term health problems that may result, including death from loss of blood, infections, inability to pass urine, long term severe pain due to damaged nerve endings, and more. Ineptitude and the primitiveness of the procedure increases these risks greatly and may cause additional long term complications due to improper sewing of the surgical incision. These cutters are valued highly in African society and are paid handsomely for their services, which is an emphasis on how institutionalized this procedure is.
With the help of non-governmental organizations (NGO), females are rising up against this archaic and barbaric practice. However, females who refuse the circumcision are ostracized and labeled as “unclean”. Many of these women have requested asylum in the UK because of the fear of reprisal by their own communities for opposing an age-old tradition.
Although the UK allows asylum for those who are facing the threat of female genital mutilation, anti-FGM campaigners and women like a 23-year-old mother from Gambia, Fatima, are claiming that hundreds of women are having their applications rejected. Fatima is trying to save her 3 year old daughter from the same fate she had experienced when she was 10. She has exhausted her appeals for asylum and is facing deportation. If she returns to her homeland, her daughter will surely be forced to undergo the procedure. Fatima could face violence, excommunication from her own tribe, or even be killed for her transgression. British NGOs and humanitarian groups criticize the British Home Office for their culture of disbelief and denial, in which women’s testimonies are not seen as credible. The burden of proof is unfairly imposed on these women seeking a better life either for themselves or their daughters.
Sign this petition to urge Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby for opening its doors for women fleeing this invasive and inhumane procedure.
Dear Prime Minister David Cameron,
Female genital mutilation continues to be a human rights issue. Many women are seeking protection in your country to escape this coercive procedure, but are refused admission. The British Home Office needs to review its process for admitting female refugees from Africa.
Women are powerless in African society. They do not have a voice or a choice when it comes to female circumcision. Females who are refused asylum will likely face the wrath of their community back at home. Please support women’s sexual rights by granting asylum to these victims.
[Your Name Here]
Image Credit: Takver via Flickr