25 July 2014
One People Commission joins calls to end FGM
by Ayoola Bandele
One People Commission (OPC) leaders have joined other evangelical church leaders in calling for an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) in about 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is prevalent.
All the leaders have signed the petition for the prime minister David Cameron to end the gruesome violence against women and girls. The petition was led by charity 28 Too Many, ahead of the Girl Summit which was held on Tuesday (22 July).
OPC director Yemi Adedeji, commented: "As evangelical leaders, many of whom are originally from African nations, we are shocked and saddened to hear of these practices being committed against women and girls. We are encouraged that the UK Church has united in one voice against FGM and are delighted in joining them in putting an end to this heartbreaking practice."
General director of the Evangelical Alliance Steve Clifford said: "As evangelical Christians, we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being – whether male or female, and no matter where they are from, that's why we have rallied our council members and leaders from across our member churches to lend their voice to ending this horrific, unjust practice. We hope and pray that through a clear, united voice we might be able to make FGM a thing of the past."
Jim Olang, spokesman for the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), said that the UK is the world's biggest supporter to end FGM and his hope and prayer is that Mr Cameron would step up the work by British agencies to help African states end the practice.
"Female genital mutilation is harmful and erodes gains made in the advancement of women and girls. To remain silent, condone or ignore acts of FGM is to promote and rubber-stamp this archaic practice. Silence is the voice of complicity," said Olang.
The summit was a further step taken in support of the UN General Assembly resolution global movement aimed to end child, early and forced marriage and FGM for all girls within a generation. According to girlssummitpledge.com, 'Doing this will help preserve girls' childhoods, promote their education, reduce their exposure to violence and abuse, and allow them to fulfil their potential in life'.
The summit was a sign of progress on tackling FGM globally in order to ensure future generation live free from FGM, says 28 Too Many.