” We must put an end to Female genital Mutilation/Cutting. We must. For those 200 million girls.”

          Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister for International Development

img_9927-edit-1Wednesday 28th September 2016 – Islamic Relief Canada in partnership with  Orchid Project held an event on Parliament Hill  to raise awareness about ending Female Genital Mutilation.

Also known as Female Genital Cutting or female circumcision,  The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister for International Development and La Francophonie gave a powerful speech as Guest of Honour at the event, sharing a strong national commitment to end the practice of FGM/C.

Minister Bibeau stressed that ‘raising awareness of — and putting an end to female genital mutilation/cutting —is key for empowering women and girls and ensuring their human rights.’

Recent international efforts to end the practice are strengthened by its inclusion within the Sustainable Development Goals.  Minister Bibeau explained that ‘FGM/C is driven by gender inequality and deeply rooted in harmful social norms.’

Throughout her speech she reiterated the importance of collective and transformative approaches necessary to end the practice, calling on Canadians from every sector to increase efforts to prioritise an end to FGM/C both internationally and domestically. ‘We cannot hide, avoid, or retreat’ she said.

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(Pictured from left) Hibo Wardere and Julia Lalala-Maharaj from Orchid Project,  Reyhana Patel from Islamic Relief Canada Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau and CEO of Islamic Relief Canada, Zaid-Al-Rawni

The audience included Parliamentarians, Government officials and activists all motivated to learn more about the practice and Islamic Relief’s work in this area.

Over 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the devastating effects of FGM/C. It serves no medical purpose and results in severe physical, psychological and socio-economic impacts.

FGM/C  is a global practice, it happens in 27 countries in Africa, throughout the Middle East and Asia, and in Australia, Canada, the U.S and the UK. Official statistics now confirm that 49% of girls under the age of 11 are cut in Indonesia.  

During the event Islamic Relief Canada presented their new report on the practice of FGM/C in Indonesia – where 49% of girls under the age of eleven are cut in the country and spoke about their work on women and girls in over forty countries around the world. 

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Pictured from left: MP Anju Dhillon, Reyhana Patel, Hibo Wardere, Julia Lala-Majaraj, Minister Bibeau, MP Shaun Chen, Zaid-Al-Rawni, MP Omar Alghabra, MP Karina Gould, MP Pam Damoff

British Somali activist, Hibo Wardere shared her personal experience of undergoing FGC at a young age. She touched upon the harsh realities felt everyday as a consequence of being forcibly cut.

Throughout the evening, parliamentarians and government officials echoed the Minister’s call for an end to this practice.

Read the Minister’s full speech here.