Campaign against female genital mutilation to be launched in Dublin

A worldwide social media campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) is being launched in Dublin on Tuesday with the backing of the #MeToo movement.

Ifrah Ahmed, 29, was born in Somalia and survived the barbaric practice.

She is living in the Irish capital and helped organise this week's demonstration which is supported by celebrities like Irish singer/songwriter Imelda May.

Activists aim to mark zero tolerance day for FGM with a million #MeToo sexual harassment campaigners using the hashtag #MeTooFGM to indicate their support.

Soky Malaka, Taya Simakova, Vanessa Manunga, Ifrah Ahmed, Zhiyan Karimi, Muwa Malaka and Klaudia Okros at the launch of #MeTooFGM, a worldwide social media campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM), in Dublin city centre.

Ms Ahmed, who wore a white blouse and headscarf when she spoke at the launch of the National Plan of Action, said: "FGM is the ultimate form of violence against women and female children...the forcible removal of a child's sexual organs to control her sexuality has been going on since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs.

"We are calling on all women everywhere who care about women's rights to support their sisters in 30 countries across the world to call for an end to FGM."

The Thunderclap social media platform will see activists from around the world take to the twittersphere using the #MeTooFGM hashtag. It will be launched at Dublin's Lighthouse Cinema at 2pm on Tuesday.

The Thunderclap is designed to draw global attention to the UN day to end FGM.

It will be spread across six continents by activists.

Organisers hope that, starting in Dublin, the Thunderclap will reach one million twitter users across Africa, the US, Asia and Australia by midnight on Tuesday.

FGM comprises all procedures involving altering or injuring female genitalia for non-medical reasons and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

It is estimated that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, according to the UN.

Girls aged 14 and younger represent 44 million of those who have been cut, most commonly in Gambia, Mauritania and Indonesia.

The procedure is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, the UN protest organisers said.

It causes severe bleeding and health issues including cysts, infections, infertility and complications in childbirth.

The #MeToo movement began after claims of serious sexual misconduct surfaced in Hollywood allegedly involving producer Harvey Weinstein.

- PA

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