The Freedom Charity Society has been established at UEA to allow students to pledge their support for zero-tolerance of female genital mutilation (FGM) worldwide.

FGM is recognised as any procedure which alters or injures the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It is widely recognised as a severe violation of human rights, and can lead to long-term physical, psychological and social consequences for its victims.

FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, though just this month a woman from east London became the first UK citizen to be convicted of the crime, for mutilating her three-year-old daughter. However, the NSPCC estimate that 137,000 women and girls in England and Wales have been affected by FGM.

The United Nations have reinforced their commitment to its worldwide eradication following last week’s International Day of Zero-Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

In a statement, UN security general Antonio Guterres called for ‘increased, concerted and global action’, to ensure FGM is banned in all nations by 2030. The UK government announced support for this target in 2018.


According to the World Health Organisation, FGM is largely concentrated in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is often motivated by strong beliefs about maintaining premarital virginity and marital fidelity: thus, almost all victims are girls from infancy to age 15.


The UN campaign for zero-tolerance of FGM culminates on International Women’s Day (8 March). The campaign is twofold: it aims to forbid all practice of FGM worldwide, and dispel the stigma around its public discussion. It rests on the work of charities to raise awareness at local and national levels, and train professionals to recognise its signs.

According to the World Health Organisation, FGM is largely concentrated in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It is often motivated by strong beliefs about maintaining premarital virginity and marital fidelity: thus, almost all victims are girls from infancy to age 15.


Students can support UEA Freedom Society by either joining on the SU website or wearing the Red Triangle Badge (the national symbol against FGM) during this month.


Follow Concrete on Twitter to stay up to date