INLW members met up with other Liberal politicians and guests from five regions of the world in the House of Lords in the UK parliament on January 29th to honour the 2014 Liberal International Prize for Freedom laureate, Ms Waris Dirie, who has brought global attention to the suffering inflicted by female genital mutilation (FGM).

Prize for Freedom 4
Waris Dirie holding the Liberal Internaional Freedom Prize and standing between UK Minister of State Lynne Featherstone and Juli Minoves, President of Liberal International.

Prize for Freedom 2

INLW was represented by Khadija El Morabit, vice President for MENA, Margaret de Vos van Steenwijk, President INLW and Lysbeth van Valkenburg, member of INLW.

It was very moving to meet Waris Dirie whose book Desert Flower tells her story just the way she told her experiences to us in London. This lady has fought her whole life to be able to chose her own future, but suffered herself the barbaric act of FGM at the age of 5. She underwent countless ordeals until now to be able to lead a free life. And now she dedicates all her energy to eradicate FGM for all girls in the world within her lifetime at least. Let’s all help to get rid of this horrific practice!


One way is to introduce legislation recognizing FGM as a criminal offence on an international level. This is essential for protecting potential victims in all corners of the world. In this regard the Istanbul Conventio Coun n (for Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Women) of the Council of Europe equips us with a powerful tool for ending female genital mutilation for women everywhere, which is why INLW has been campaigning for its globalization since mid 2014. See the Statement INLW and LI made at the UN HRC in Geneva in September 2014.

INLW and LI have delivered a written Statement with this subject calling the 59th Commission on the Status of Women to campaign for a Global Convention with the same content of the Istanbul Convention.

Some citations of Liberals about FGM and Waris Dirie
“Last week Liberal International awarded its highest human rights prize to a true champion in the fight against FGM: Mrs. Waris Dirie. She is not only a brave survivor of this horrific practice but also an inspirational voice for thousands of women around the world who fall victim to this horrific practice. Her admirable work and dedication to the cause reminds us that legislation and education about prevention and elimination of FGM practices go hand in hand.
As liberals we will continue to fight alongside champions like Mrs. Dirie until we can realise a world where every girl and woman will be free to live in dignity, irrespective of her cultural or ethnic background.”
Markus Loening, LI Vice-President on the Bureau, Chair of LI Human Rights Committee (FDP, Germany)

“FGM is by far one of the most dehumanising actions against women. The unfortunate twining of harmful traditions and political convenience, allows for this diabolic practice to continue. The time is due a long time ago to stop all kinds of FGM. Now and for all future.”
Abir Al-Sahlani, Former Member of Parliament (Centerpartiet, Sweden)

“In Israel we have succeeded to deal with FGM by a two-faceted approach: through a spirit of respect for human rights in general and the rights of women and girls in particular as well as through legislation which criminalizes FGM as harm with aggravating intent according to Section 329(a)(1) of the Penal Law (carrying a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment). Thus, Israel is the only country in the Middle East which has managed to effectively eradicate FGM. This offers us reason for optimism about cultural change that comes about through modernization processes, bringing increased awareness of and respect for human rights together with proactive legislation.”
Naomi Blumenthal, Former Chairwoman of the Political Centre of Israel Women’s Network (Israeli Liberal Group)

“MGF est une violence physique, sexuelle et psychologique commise à l’égard les femmes qui subissent cette mutilation alors qu’elles sont mineurs. Il faut interdire, combattre, s’opposer fermement et réprimer par tous les moyens cette pratique barbare qui continue à sévir au nom des rites et de la perpétuité des traditions archaïques.
Tirons la sonnette d’alarme sur ses graves conséquences sur la vie des filles et des femmes, comme des douleurs à la miction durant les menstruations ou lors des rapports sexuels. Tout combattant des droits de l’homme, doit dénoncer ce phénomène qui se répand en Afrique Subsaharienne et dans quelques régions du Proche-Orient et de l’Asie du sud-est au Yémen, en Indonésie et en Malaisie.
Il est inadmissible qu’une fillette est excisée toutes les 15 secondes à travers le monde, sans oublier que les femmes ayant subi une mutilation génitale (MGF) ont plus de risques d’éprouver des difficultés lors de l’accouchement et que leurs bébés sont exposés au risque de mourir. Voire de forte hémorragie après la naissance et l’hospitalisation prolongée, avec comme conséquence la stérilité chez les femmes et les maladies sexuellement transmissibles(MST).” La santé et la sexualité de la femme est dans le calendrier de nos combats.”
Fouzia El Bayed, Member of Parliament (Mouvement Populaire, Morocco)