Humanists UK joins coalition in calling for FGM to be eradicated by 2030

3 February, 2020

Credit: Jessica Lea/DFID on flickr

A new manifesto calling for FGM to be eradicated worldwide by 2030 will be sent to the Prime Minister this week by ACTION: FGM, a coalition of FGM survivors, medical professionals, academics, think-tanks, and other organisations, including Humanists UK.

UNICEF and the World Health Organisation estimate that over 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation, and 30 million more will be subjected to it in the next decade.

An estimated 137,000 women and girls subjected to FGM were living in England and Wales in 2011, and 60,000 girls under the age of 15 had been born to mothers affected by FGM.

FGM is a deeply damaging misogynistic practice, which has religious and cultural roots, that seeks to deny women the propensity for sexual pleasure or control of their own sexuality. It is defined as the medically unnecessary partial or total removal of the female external genitalia, infibulation or other injury to the genital organs. This procedure can cause severe medical complications including bleeding, difficulties with urination, cysts, infections, difficulties in childbirth, and an increase in infant mortality.

Over the last year, Humanists UK has been working with the ACTION: FGM coalition, which aims to end FGM and ‘honour-based abuse’ in the UK by 2030. In an open letter which appeared in The Telegraph, the Coalition called for tougher action on FGM by the Government and the mandatory implementation of FGM screening questions by all GPs. The letter was signed by Humanists UK patrons and All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) members including President Alice Roberts, Angela Saini, Polly Toynbee, Baroness Lorely Burt, Sara Pascoe, Kerry McCarthy MP, and Shappi Khorsandi.

The manifesto states: ‘The law criminalises FGM but with just four prosecutions and one successful conviction in the UK, since the first enactment of legislation in 1985, this is clearly not enough. Legislation cannot be meaningful without adequate resources to address the wider issues, does little to help survivors and does not address the general lack of awareness of FGM and its consequences.’

The dangers of FGM were highlighted in a shocking case in Egypt in recent days where a 12-year-old girl bled to death while undergoing FGM. The doctor has been arrested.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read more about our work on FGM.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.