Children Act 1989 (Amendment) (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:35 pm on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park 7:35 pm, 11th March 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. I know, because the evidence shows, that a shift is happening. I mentioned Nimco Ali’s campaign in Somaliland. It is not one where she is having to bash her head against a brick wall. Every member of the newly elected Somaliland Government is on board in a mission to eradicate FGM. In Hargeisa, the capital, huge posters have been put up and paid for by government, although they were designed by the campaign groups at the grassroots, telling people that FGM is not only illegal but unethical and immoral, and without any basis whatsoever in religion—this could not be clearer. I realise I did not answer an earlier intervention on that point.

Nimco is not the only person who has that kind of electrifying impact in individual countries. Another such person is Jaha Dukureh, who was originally from the Gambia, moved to New York and then went back to the Gambia. Like Nimco, she persuaded the Government not only to legislate against FGM, but to put resources into those people at the grassroots who are campaigning to change hearts and minds. By all accounts, she is succeeding on an extraordinary scale. I am going to come to this a little later when I wrap up, but there is such an important role for the Department for International Development to play. We can be proud of what we have done, but we have to make sure the next raft of money, the £50 million that has been pledged, is invested in the right groups and the right campaigns.