General secretary Dave Prentis is urging UNISON members, their friends and families to back Amnesty International’s fundraising campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
The current campaign is to support campaigners in two West African countries: Sierra Leone, where 88% of women and girls have been subject to FGM; and Burkina Faso, where the practice continues despite being made illegal.
In the UK, as many as 137,000 girls have undergone FGM and another 60,000 are at risk – either clandestinely here in the UK or by being taken abroad.
“As a union with more than a million women members, we vigorously campaign for the rights of all girls and women,” said Mr Prentis.
“Many women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM and early marriage.
“Their right to education and health are violated and must be protected. I urge our members to contribute to Amnesty’s fundraising campaign to help end these practices wherever they occur.”
FGM is a tradition in many societies, but has been condemned by the UN and the World Health Organisation as a violation of human rights.
The practice is declining, but some 130 million women and girls are estimated to have undergone FGM, with another 30 million girls under 15 at risk.
The practice has absolutely no health benefits, says the WHO, but “reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.”
You can help by donating to the campaign on the Amnesty website. Donations made before 18 July will be matched pound for pound by the UK government.