Legal award for 28 Too Many

Leading female genital mutilation (FGM) research charity, 28 Too Many, led by mission partner Dr Ann-Marie Wilson, has won the prestigious Collaboration Award at the 2018 Trustlaw Awards in New York.

The winning project on FGM laws in Africa, was led on the legal side by the London office of top law firm Latham & Watkins and involved over 120 lawyers from law firms around the world, working together with 28 Too Many to research and publish 30 reports on FGM law in 28 countries in Africa. All of this was made possible by Trustlaw, the pro bono legal programme of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Ann-Marie Wilson, founder of 28 Too Many, was in New York to collect the award at a ceremony held on 26 September. She said: “This is a remarkable achievement, and we would never have been able to realise it without the pro bono help that we received.

“We are truly grateful to Trustlaw and to the teams of lawyers who worked with us on this project, but also the many anti-FGM activists and organisations around the world who contributed their knowledge to our reports.”

The reports, which provide comprehensive guides to FGM laws in 28 countries in Africa, also highlight good and bad practice, provide case studies and offer suggestions as to how governments can strengthen and implement FGM laws.

“There are 28 countries in Africa where FGM is most prevalent, and six of these countries still do not have laws against FGM, meaning that in effect, it is still legal there,” said Dr Wilson. One of these countries is Somalia, where recent reports of three young girls dying after undergoing FGM have caused worldwide outcry.

Amy Hurn, research manager at 28 Too Many and author of the 30 reports, added, “our research has shown that if three countries tighten and fully implement their existing anti-FGM laws and six countries introduce national legislation, this will potentially have an impact on 44 million girls under the age of 15 in FGM-practising countries across Africa.”

There is a worldwide pledge to end FGM by 2030, but progress has often been hampered by the lack of and poor implementation of FGM laws.

All of the reports, which are already being used widely by governments and anti-FGM activists around the world, are available to download from the 28 Too Many website.

Published 5 October 2018

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