Sakharov nomination should be just the beginning of crucial anti-FGM work

The European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents took the decision to award the 2019 prestigious Sakharov prize for freedom of thought to Ilham Tohti. The ECR and our Flemish MEP Assita Kanko had nominated the Restorers, five Kenyan students who have developed an app to help fight female genital mutilation (FGM).

They call the app ‘I-Cut’ and it allows girls at risk of genital mutilation to get help quickly and in different ways.

I-Cut allows girls who are in an emergency situation to request help from the police or from a medical aid post in the event of imminently undergoing FGM.
They have five different buttons on the app: ‘help’, ‘rescue’, ‘report’, ‘information on Female Genital Mutilation’ and ‘donate and feedback’.

According to the World Health Organisation, up to three million girls are at risk of FGM every year. Currently, 200 million girls and women worldwide live with the terrible consequences of FGM.

Following today’s decision, Assita Kanko MEP gave the following comments:

“I congratulate today’s winner of the Sakharov prize and recognise the huge contribution made by all those nominated. Every day, these individuals fight to defend self-determination, our democracy and free speech;

often at the cost of their own freedom. Speaking about the nomination and shortlisting of the Restorers, she said:

“The Restorers have created a message of hope and community from their own horrific experience of female genital mutilation. Their courage and determination to help others is inspiring.

“Thanks to their hard work and innovation, they have given power to a huge number of girls who otherwise would have felt powerless.

“This App helps provide girls with self-determination in one of the most intimate decisions that will ever be made about their body; a decision they should never have to make in the first place.

“This App gives young girls at risk of FGM the opportunity to have their voice be heard. My hope is that this Parliament can provide their voice with a megaphone.

“Their nomination for the Sakharov prize must be the beginning, not the end of highlighting this important issue.

“I hope that other political groups will support me in calling for the European Parliament to write a report and propose a series of concrete actions in the fight against FGM; so that the EU can help put an end to this barbaric practice once and for all.”

Please reach out to Assita Kanko´ s office if you want to cooperate and help give hope to hopeless girls: assita.kanko@europarl.europa.eu

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