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Sierra Leone: Female Genital Mutilation

Department for International Development written question – answered on 25th January 2018.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what reports she has received on the use of FGM by political parties in Sierra Leone as part of the electoral process; and what the effect is of such use on her Department's efforts to tackle FGM.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

We are not aware of any formal reports of FGM being used as part of the electoral process; but with our partners we are closely monitoring all risks around the election.

DFID is committed to working with the Government of Sierra Leone to promote the rights of women and girls and will seek to work with the new Government to specifically tackle FGM in the country. Supporting Sierra Leones’ elections bodies to deliver free, fair and inclusive elections is a top priority for the UK. We are working with the National Elections Commission (NEC) and Civil Society Organizations to deliver civic and voter information better targeted to specific groups like women and persons with a disability. Efforts are underway by the UN in country to establish a women’s situation room to help monitor and tackle instances of violence against women and other vulnerable groups. The NEC is also working to make voting centres more physically accessible and/or able to provide special voting arrangements e.g. tactile ballots for the visually impaired, and table-top voting screens for mothers with small children.

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