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On Wednesday 6 July, thousands of Zimbabweans participated in a peaceful ‘stay-at-home’ protest against the ruling Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Without staff, many businesses were forced to close, including foreign banks and department stores.

Twitter was alive with protest hashtags #ZimShutDown2016, #ThisFlag, and Shona slogans #hatichada #hatichatya (‘we’ve had enough, we are not afraid’) and #Tajamuka (‘we strongly disagree’). Pictures of Harare’s empty streets circulated on social media and international news outlets. It was one of Zimbabwe’s most impressive anti-government mobilisations in recent times.

A week later, on Tuesday 12 July, protest organiser Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with ‘inciting public violence’ – but the charge was amended to ‘subverting constitutional government’ in court the next day. In a show of solidarity, more than 100 lawyers gathered in the packed courtroom to represent him while outside, crowds draped themselves in the nation’s flag as a symbol of his message. Mawarire was released to cheering crowds that evening and was soon back to promoting the non-violent campaign against a government seen to have failed millions of Zimbabweans.

Statistics suggest that 2016 could be Zimbabwe’s most active year of protests yet
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These events unsettled the ruling party, and are an inspiring story of grassroots mobilisation in the context of a stifled and suppressed active civil society. But it remains unclear whether the movement has traction beyond the urban area, and how it intends to bring about real political change. Mawarire insists he does not aim to bring about regime change, while the ruling ZANU-PF is hard-lined in their response to protest. The party also retains paramount control in Zimbabwe’s rural areas, where almost two-thirds of the population live.

Furthermore, apart from two parliamentarians from the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), who wore the national flag around their necks in session, there has been little indication to date that the opposition intends to endorse or associate with Mawarire and the movement as a political platform ahead of the 2018 elections.

Whether it’s due to fear of state reprisal or playing into exactly what President Robert Mugabe wants (any grounds to criminalise and implicate MDC) – or because there is hope that Mawarire will himself form a new party – the lack of support by the opposition could limit the medium- and long-term impact of the protests.

Trends in riots and protests in Zimbabwe, according to the Armed Conflict Location Event Data Project (ACLED) show that spontaneous riots and protests have been increasing; particularly since 2010.

Protests and riots in Zimbabwe, 1 January 1998 - 9 July 20161998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016050100150200YearNumber of riots and protests
  Riots and protests
1998 77
1999 55
2000 11
2001 14
2002 12
2003 15
2004 12
2005 54
2006 21
2007 41
2008 26
2009 65
2010 24
2011 30
2012 63
2013 47
2014 114
2015 151
2016 67
 

Source: ACLED Version 6 (1997-2015) and ACLED Real Time Data 9 July 2016

Historically, landmark protests in Zimbabwe have come in response to disputed elections, inflation and state-led violence. In 1998, mass protests against inflation led by the National Constitutional Assembly (the foundation of the MDC), attracted tens of thousands of participants. High activity was also seen in 2005 and 2009.

The activity in 2005 reflects the public response to Operation Murambatsvina, which saw over 700 000 people forcibly removed from informal settlements in the capital and protests related to the contested parliamentary elections. The spike in 2009 is largely attributable to the hyperinflation and near economic collapse at the time. This was also in the context of political bargaining within the ZANU-MDC power-sharing agreement framework.

Recent protest action highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans
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Since 2013 and the national elections that effectively returned Zimbabwe to one-party dominance, civil society’s ability to mobilise has been significantly curtailed. Nevertheless, 2014 and 2015 recorded the most protest events in Zimbabwe’s recent history. In 2016, heightened protest activity has been driven by cash shortages, long queues at ATMs, corruption allegations and an import ban.

In May, the MDC-T held major protests against ZANU-PF in Harare and Bulawayo, which gathered upwards of 10 000 participants. In response, ZANU-PF mobilised an estimated 200 000 people for its Million Man March. The above graph shows that at only halfway into 2016, the 67 protests and riots already surpass each of the annual totals since 1998 – suggesting that 2016 could be the most active year of protests yet.

Momentum for the #ThisFlag movement has grown significantly since Mawarire launched his widely viewed YouTube video in April. In June, he led a protest against the Reserve Bank’s introduction of new bond notes, which are to serve as a non-convertible but United States dollar-pegged local currency in an attempt to counter the currency crisis.

By 1 July, Beitbridge – the border point with South Africa that sees an estimated 15 000 people pass each day – was host to a number of road blockages and the burning of a warehouse. Shortly thereafter, a taxi driver protest in Harare turned violent and coincided with a number of smaller and more peaceful mobilisations by nurses, doctors and teachers, all demanding overdue salaries.

ZANU-PF’s response to public dissent and opposition is swift and repressive. The 1998 mass mobilisation was met with military deployment. Similarly, in July 2005, the protest in Harare’s informal settlements by labour strikers was forcibly squashed as part of Operation Murambatsvina. In 2007, Amnesty International condemned the violent arrests of the key organisers of the stay-away protest against inflation. In the last month, over 300 protestors were believed to be arrested, and many beaten.

The Zimbabwean economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought
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In a country where mobile phone penetration is at 95% and Internet penetration at 50%, it is no surprise then that online protest is effective. As an alternative to state media, blogging websites such as Kubatana have been a platform for public discussion since the early 2000s. In the run-up to and during the 2008 elections, over 31 of its bloggers called for the end of Mugabe’s rule and shared their experiences in trying to withdraw much-needed cash from ATMs, along with victims’ accounts of police brutality.

On 6 July, in the middle of the stay-at-home protest, instant messaging service WhatsApp was mysteriously shut down – effectively preventing protestors from communicating and mobilising. With the president unable to pay the police and military on time, the state’s ability to physically control protest is limited, which may have led the government to act more creatively.

It is well known that behind the public dissatisfaction is a sad story of 36-year dominance by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF; the suppression of opposition; and a near-permanent economic crisis. After years of negative growth, the economy experienced nascent recovery in 2010 to 2012. However, year-on-year GDP growth has fallen to around 1.8% in 2015 and there is a similarly dismal expectation for 2016, due to unsustainable expenditure shored up by budget deficit funding.

There is little certainty about the faces we’ll see in Zimbabwe’s 2018 presidential race
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The economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought that has ravaged the region. According to the Zimbabwean government, one third of the population is in need of food aid.

Furthermore, the country is in serious debt. Over the past year, discussions between the Zimbabwean government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank have culminated in an agreement to pay back nearly US$2 billion in order to secure new short- to medium-term loans.

But, according to the IMF, any new loan will likely come with conditions to reduce the public sector payroll and reform the controversial land policy. This would have policy implications that are likely to exacerbate the public’s existing grievances, and catalyse new tensions between factions within the ruling party in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2018.

Mawarire’s movement highlights growing impatience with the never-ending economic insecurity. It also highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans going forward. With the 92-year-old president’s questionable health; a fractured and weakened MDC; and growing tensions within ZANU-PF – particularly between the executive and the security sector – there is little certainty about the candidates and key messages we are likely to see in the 2018 race.

Yet there’s no doubt that Mugabe and ZANU-PF face unprecedented challenges ahead of 2018. The non-violent protest movement, including the social media activity to support it, is just one example of the new levels of civic engagement that appear to have outsmarted the current regime’s ability to counter dissent. Both in terms of the economic situation and protest movement, the next weeks and months will be crucial in determining the country’s trajectory.

Ciara Aucoin, Researcher, African Futures and Innovation, ISS Pretoria

Whatever your view about the result of the EU referendum, it’s clear that charities now have an important role to play in fostering community cohesion, especially in the wake of a rise in the number of reported incidents of racial abuse and hate crime: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-eu-referendum-racial-racism-abuse-hate-crime-reported-latest-leave-immigration-a7104191.html.

Today at 2.30pm the Home Office Minister Karen Bradley will make a statement on hate crime. It’s worth watching out for this. We will cover it on the @ConstructiveVox twitter feed.

Given the work you do, we would like to suggest that following the statement you might want to get in touch with your local or national media and get your voice heard.

 

You need to be clear about:

1.   1.  Why you are concerned

2.   2.  What you may already have noticed happening

3.   3.  What needs to be done - make sure you set out a few concrete, practical suggestions.

This can be done via:

1.   1. Writing a letter to a newspaper. Here a few of the big national ones, but also consider your local paper.

  Guardian guardian.letters(at)theguardian.com

  Observer observer.letters(at)observer.co.uk

  Times  letters(at)thetimes.co.uk

  Daily Telegraph dtletters(at)telegraph.co.uk

  Financial Times letters.editor(at)ft.com

Remember, you need to react to a particular article and include your name, address, postcode and phone number for verification.

2. Calling a radio phone-in.

  Listen out for opportunities you could contribute to. There are endless discussions now about the impact of Brexit.

  This could be your local radio station or a national stations LBC (0345 6060 973) and BBC Radio 5live (0500 909 693) who have daily phone-ins. It’s often easier to get on air that you might think.

3. Sending a press release or personal blog to your local or national media contacts.

Check online and on twitter which journalists are covering the news about hate crime and racist attacks. Use #hatecrime #postrefracism #racism

Do ask Constructive Voices (constructivevoices(at)ncvo.org.uk) if you need help with this.

4. Using twitter

Put a pinned tweet (at the top of your timeline) outlining your response, ideally linked to a blog or press release on your website.

Encourage people to join you in your work. As Zoe Williams in the Guardian appeals – “be a joiner, not a dabbler: get involved with refugee charities, with migrants’ rights groups, with the apparatus of inclusion and love that decent people have been building for decades.” http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/28/brexit-fallout-six-practical-ways-to-fix-this-mess

It’s now more vital than ever that your voice is heard loud and clear as you have valuable advice to offer. Do let us know what you are doing and if you manage to get coverage.

On the afternoon of 1st Nov, we were having lunch in a Yemeni restaurant in Hargeisa, Somaliland when I heard the news about deadly attack in Mogadishu that morning. The Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu was stormed by Al-Shabab militants, killing 15 people including a Member of Parliament and Somali general who had led the military campaign that drove Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011.

When my colleague Abdi Zenebe from the University of Hargeisa received a call, it did not take me long to realise that the person on the other side was asking about me. It was my wife who had been terrified by the news and confused about whether I had travelled to Mogadishu or Hargeisa.

My UK mobile network would not work in Somaliland and I had not yet managed to obtain a local SIM card or perhaps, I had not prioritised it. I can empathise with the stress that is caused on families of individuals who work in conflict-affected or other humanitarian situations. For some, career choices in challenging situations are serendipitous whereas for others, these are professional adventures. It is probably a combination of both in my case.

This news came to us in the middle of our conversation about how Somaliland had maintained peace and stability since its declaration of independence from Somalia in 1991 while the Southern state continues to be violent.

 

UCL Institute of Education's new research project in partnership with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) at University of Hargeisa and University of York involves research into the role of education in promoting peace, political stability and development in the Somali region.

The project employs a multi-method approach to curriculum development, which combines a rigorous review of evidence, empirical study in the Somali region and multi-stakeholder consultation to inform the curriculum design process and pedagogy of an academic course on education and peace-building.

 

John Paul Lederach’s theory on peacebuilding draws significantly on political processes of the hybrid model of peacebuilding and participatory democracy in Somaliland. One of my personal research interests has also been to explore how Somaliland navigates through indigenous structures of governance to advance aspirational modernisation in Somaliland.

The political parties are constitutionally barred from adopting an explicit clan-based or religious ideology but in reality, the source of support for these parties essentially stems from their respective clans and sub-clans.

While Somaliland has successfully worked with its bicameral presidential system in which the Guurti, the upper House of Elders is represented by 82 senior members of various clans and the House of Representative of the same size, the current challenges are primarily concerned with the lack of basic services - including, education, health, water, food and the infrastructure.

 

What was extraordinary to see during the initial meetings in which I participated in Hargeisa was the enormity of self-pride and aspirations among the people from all walks of life for social and economic development in Somaliland.

The meeting with the university’s president and vice-president was so encouraging that they did not just highlight what had been achieved in the Somaliland’s only public university but also were very honest about the areas where improvement was needed.

 

When the senior management of an academic institution explicitly reveals their fundamental weaknesses at their first meeting with a foreign partner, it clearly indicates their desperation and genuine commitment to effect a real change in the institution.

This is very unlike some of the other developing countries where I have experienced rudimentary or unenthusiastically dormant academic entrepreneurship. The academic team in the IPCS, Hargeisa was incredibly passionate about their work and very proud of the fact that their graduates included the leaders of the major political parties as well as ministers of the current cabinet. I really hope that my first impression remains linear throughout the project, creating a real opportunity for mutual learning and academic innovations within the IPCS and beyond.

This made me think of what American anthropologist James Ferguson said about his frustration towards failed development in Africa. Ferguson (2006: 191-192) notes:

 

Today, anthropologists in Africa tend to be asked not "What can you do for us" (that time-honored question) but rather: “How can I get out of this place?” Not progress, then, but regress.

 

I would like to think, perhaps, the tip of the Horn of Africa is a different scenario all together. I felt that there was still a strong sense of hope as the people here were passionately talking about African philosophy and indigenous models of democratic practice.

Later that afternoon, we visited the Hargeisa Cultural Centre, a fascinating place that seemed to be playing a prominent role in reviving and reconstructing Somaliland identity and cultural traditions.

When we arrived at the centre, we were welcomed by Ibrahim who gave us a tour. Ibrahim was born two days before the military dictator Siad Barre’s army callously bombed Hargeisa in 1988. His eyes were filled with tears when he described how his mother had to painfully flee to Ethiopia with a newly born baby in her arms. Ibrahim’s father was so traumatised that he would still refuse to return to Hargeisa after these many years.

Designed in a traditional Somali style and constructed beautifully with local materials is the drama theatre in the cultural centre. Its walls are covered by Somali blankets and the spectators’ arena is nicely designed to face the stage that lies with some musical instruments in the corner.

 

On the wall behind the seats, it read 'culture is a basic right’.

There were also few hundreds of audiocassettes of classic Somali songs, which Ibrahim mentioned were being digitized for preservation.

On the way back from the theatre, we saw a dozen of children sitting on the stage of the open theatre while the two elders, sitting opposite of them were reciting the script for their forthcoming play. Abdi explained, ‘Somaliland is traditionally an oral society. Reciting poetry; telling stories and memorising proverbs with moral lessons is an integral part of this society.’ The cultural centre served both political and social purposes by preserving the traditional culture as well as cultivating national identity of Somaliland as a distinctive, stable and culturally prospering nation. A well-resourced library in the Centre housed a good amount of publications about Somaliland.

When we returned to Abdi’s car which was parked outside the Centre, I noticed that he had left his laptop openly on the front seat. I thought I could not leave my laptop visibly like that in my car in the UK. 

I asked myself, ‘Is Hargeisa safer than London?’

The security system seems to be surprisingly robust in Hargeisa where community policing reportedly provides approximately 60-70 percent of security related intelligence to national security. The state takes the matter of public security austerely as it is strictly linked with Somaliland’s commitment to deliver peace and stable democracy as well as its diplomatic ordeal to disassociate from the state failure in Somalia. Perhaps, the UK Independent Party Leader, Nigel Farage has a point in vocally supporting Somaliland for its membership in the Commonwealth to reward its success with peace in the last 25 years.

However, the art gallery in the Centre also revealed the painful side of Somaliland where we saw thought-provoking paintings by some young artists. These artistic representations incorporated the themes of politics, corruption and forced migration faced by Somali society.

As the entire Western Europe is engaged in a debate and challenges about ‘refugee crisis’, the excruciating misery of the loss of family members in the dreadful journeys to Europe and persecution of human smugglers were very powerfully depicted in these paintings. In one of the paintings by a young artist named Hanad, a Somalilander sets off for a new life in Europe but is kidnapped en route by the smuggler who demands ransom for her release. The mother, back home in Somaliland, who is portrayed as cooking meals for the family is devastated by the news and screams in agony.

In a different painting by the same artist, the cruelty of human smugglers in an overcrowded boat was so vividly portrayed. The scene displayed the horror of humanitarian disaster as well as deprivation, disparities and desperation that led to triviality of human lives. One can easily see the obvious but also feel agitated by what is driving these series of events.

With these incredible pieces of art, the cultural Centre represented an interesting blend of national pride and social challenges that characterized Somaliland. The involvement of youth in production of the atmosphere of the Centre and its social and cultural activities indicated an important aspect of learning and revival of Somali Culture. However, it is certainly a limited representation of Somaliland and not at all the entirety of what Hargeisa as a city constitutes.

My few days in Somaliland have thrown me into a paradoxical understanding of the aspiring self-declared republic that is surrounded by complex protracted crises but is successfully defending peace and stability for the last 25 years.

On the one hand, its clan-based social structure works as a source of stability and successful conflict management and most importantly, as an impenetrable shield against Al-Shabab’s influence.

On the other hand, the very system, quite understandably, seems to be suspicious about over excitement for foreign investment and westernised economic development. The anxiety of the loss of stability as well as social and cultural erosion that may follow the stimulated economic liberalisation faces the reality of persisted stagnation in providing basic services such as food, water, education, health and the infrastructure to Somalilanders.

For us, it is the question of education – what is the role of education in transforming Somali society? How can we create positive learning opportunities for Somali youth to effectively facilitate their participation in democracy, peacebuilding, and social transformation?

Dr Pherali is Senior Lecturer in Education and International Development at UCL Institute of Education. He teaches a course on Education, Conflict and Fragility and coordinates the Network for Research in Education, Conflict and Emergencies. Email: t.pherali(at)ioe.ac.uk 

Ava Hunt presents: Acting Alone

20:00 on Saturday 28th May at The Corner. [Theatre] B

Acting Alone is inspired by the people Ava met in refugee camps in Palestine. In her unique performance style, Ava weaves together stories of immense complexity and fragile humanity together with bizarre experiences of working as an actor and performing alone. Heartbreaking, witty, Acting Alone asks questions of us all – can one person make a difference?

 

 

You can reserve your tickets by clicking here

 

Bread & Roses present: Food For Thought//In Whose Name? double bill

From 18:30 on Wednesday 25th May at The Lofthouse. [Theatre] U

 

Food for Thought takes real stories from people in Nottingham who have experiences of visiting a food bank or volunteering and weaves them with journalistic sources. In Whose Name? is a brand new- piece using interviews from Refugees who have come to Nottingham and explores their lives as well as the racism and media attention surrounding the Syrian Crisis.

 

 

You can reserve your tickets by clicking here!

 

 

Source: FONT Festival 

What's going on in Riandu?!

33 students (and counting) have now entered through these gates to start their secondary education, previously with no secondary school to go to that would support their education as deaf and partially hearing people.

 

 

 

 




 

This is an AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT considering that all of our funding for the construction so far (worth ~£140,000) has come from charitable donors and supporters like yourselves.

This year we are fundraising for, designing and building:

The dining hall, staff accommodation, dormitory block 2 and landscaping the site. 

For this we need £74,000, of which we have secured £54,000 already. DONATE if you can for the last £20,000! (follow the link)

 

 

                                                  

                                                   

                                             

 

 

The board of management, teachers and students are overjoyed at the arrival of new students, and at the accepting, positive welcome  and support for the school from the local community.
The whole Riandu family has worked hard together to breathe life into this courageous vision of the Mothers' Union that they have had for a good few years now (but with insufficient funding to get it started).

 

                    

 

 

Check out our facebook stream to find a recent VIDEO posted of students dancing together outside one of the new classroom blocks

Where have we got to now?...


 

 

 

                                 

We have made a fantastic and encouraging start.  The buildings above that are dark are those now built, on the ground on site. The buildings highlighted are still to fund.

 

 This year we will be landscaping the site and building the staff accommodation, dormitory block 2 and the dining hall (the blue building central to the school), which will be the main function facility for the school, open for public events and tertiary courses (such as sign-language) to the local community.

The dining hall will be one of the key points in the school site where hearing and Deaf communities mingle together and integrate, as well as the chapel and basketball court planned for future construction. These will be important points for integration.

 

 

 Elevation design of the dining hall being built this year (once we have secured funding for it)

In the above 'master plan' sketch, this is the largest building in the centre of the L shape with variegated roofing


The social understanding of deafness has already progressed due to increased awareness and the positive energy around this project locally. When the school gates went up there was a bit of stunned silence from the team. How has this all happened in two years?

 

At this poignant time for Project Riandu we want to extend our thanks for sharing the inspiring vision of the Mother's Union to increase equal access to education, and for offering your time, energy, money, support.

As the team on the ground establish and run the school, recruiting and teaching students from far and wide, you are providing the much needed funding for further building materials, a real momentum behind this project, and I hope you are enjoying seeing the incredible outcomes coming through thick and fast.

 

Deaf students, Kenyan volunteers and UK volunteer work together on the construction site, August 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shorter-form NHS Standard Contract for 2016/17: User guide now available

The NHS Standard Contract must be used by NHS commissioners (Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England) when commissioning clinical healthcare services other than primary care. Until now a single (tailorable) version of the NHS Standard Contract has been published. But now, for the first time, an alternative, shorter, form may be used in certain circumstances

 

A User Guide to the shorter-form Contract user guide is now available on the NHS England website

This Guide is about the new shorter-form version of the NHS Standard Contract. It is for commissioners and providers who may use the shorter-form Contract, and who will have to deal with contracts. It explains when and how the shorter-form Contract should be used. 

This shorter-form Contract is one third of the length of the existing full-length version and is much simpler and less burdensome. It may be used for commissioning of relevant clinical services with effect from April 2016.

 

The shorter-form Contract is intended to be used when NHS commissioners commission clinical healthcare services of relatively low complexity and value. It must not be used for contracts for any service for which the National Tariff guidance sets a mandatory national price (whether or not that mandatory national price is to be the subject of a Local Variation or Local Modification). 

 

New Care Models Mark Their First Year

 

Vanguards are part of the national new care models programme which is playing a key role in the delivery of the Five Year Forward View – the vision for the future of the NHS. Samantha Jones, Director of the New Care Models Programme, reflects on the progress they have made over the last year

 

The 50 vanguards, who are spread across different parts of the country, are redesigning and transforming care for patients, communities and staff. Read more about the Vanguards in the East Midlands  on our Introduction to the New Care Models: Vanguard Sites

 

 

NHS England Plan - Transforming General Practice

 

The General Practice Forward View sets out a plan to support the transformation of general practice over the next five years and improve services for patients. By 2020/21 there will be an extra £2.4 billion a year going into general practice. In addition, there will be a one-off, five year £500 million investment to support GP practices.

The General Practice Forward View includes plans to grow the workforce, increase use of technology, develop better premises and improve the way services are provided so patients have better access to the right service at the right time.

For more information: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/gpfv/

 

Source and full contents: Wellbeing East Midlands

Notts County midfielder Curtis Thompson has signed an extended contract 

Red Devils Advocate: Could signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic actually be a bad idea

Real United FC has had a very successful season that saw them perform very well despite huge competition and limited resources.

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Bishop Moses Masamba 2014, Project Riandu Patron

Philip Nucca was a teenager when he came to the UK from Kenya. From his homey kitchen back in Nairobi to the kitchen in an English pub in Sheffield, Nucca has always cooked with determination and an ever-running innovative mind.

 

It was late night when Nucca finally stepped out of the kitchen, having wrapped up an intense dinner rush. There was, however, not a trace of exhaustion on his face, “I don’t really get tired from cooking.” Although not chatty, Nucca projected a relaxing temperament. He had a sniff of the beer I ordered for him and named it immediately. “A sharp sense of smell is important; I need it all the time when cooking,” Nucca tried to elaborate on his remark, “like determining the freshness of meat and deciding on the right spices to go into dishes.” 

 

 

The culinary experience in Kenya is very different from here, especially in terms of heat. “Food in Kenya is a lot spicier, I need to bring down the heat for diners here,” says Nucca with elaboration, “also some of the ingredients we use in Kenya are not easy to find, so I have to find substitutes sometimes.” The experience and memories from Nucca's childhood back home are the main source of his innovation in cuisines. “I never cook with any recipe that’s not my own,” Nucca asserts. His cooking style is much based on the learning from his mother and grandmother, although he never tries to duplicate the recipes. And this style of cooking is usually very spontaneous. “I depend a lot on my instinct, usually I just go with whatever ingredients that I feel could work, and then I’ll just find out if it does,” the proud chef says while casually leaning back against the chair. This is also influenced by his family, “we rarely write down any recipe; we often just go with whatever that feels right.” And now it's the supreme principle in his kitchen. So far, his attempts have seemed to be successful. “Last week I introduced my latest dish, and it was sold out in one day,” says Nucca with a proud smile.  

 

His latest experiment was lamb stew- a Kenyan dish adapted to British taste and with a touch of his own innovation. “I use oregano, we don’t use that back home, but I think it goes really well with lamb.” The stew is cooked with a variety of spices and two types of chillies- green and red- and thus is expected to strike the taste bud with a blow of spiciness. Apart from the stew itself, Nucca also makes a new attempt to the side, replacing the standard potato chips with baked sweet potato mixed with potato mash. “You’d be amazed how sweet potato could enhance the texture and flavour,” says Nucca confidently. And the dish does seem to be a success given the quick sold-out. 

 

Nucca learns from everything that he encounters, be it a recipe, a cooking show or an incredible dish; then out of instinct, his mind starts to run all the probable adaptations to the cuisine. “You’ve got to have passion, to cherish what you do so that you can carry on for a good long time.” To still talk about cooking with such a high spirit after standing in a small kitchen for more than 10 hours, doing nothing but making food, it takes sole passion. 

 

 

Although enjoying the status quo, he has a big picture in mind. His habitual brainstorming for new and unique dishes is a means through which he achieves the ultimate goal- inspiring more tastebuds with mature skills and fresh ideas for cuisines. “This is only my first stop,” the chef's face shines with a hopeful glare. And indeed Nucca has gone back to university to build his capacity in business management since 2015. "This will enable me to run my own catering business and cook for people with adventurous tastebuds."

“Zanzibar,” formerly known as “UK Mama,” is celebrating its 23rd  anniversary this year. And a long history is not the only thing that makes this African-Caribbean restaurant unique; being the first of such kind in Yorkshire also contributes to its prestige.

 

For Godson Ogwudire, “Zanzibar” is a dream come true, literally. The idea of running a restaurant first hit Ogwudire in the form of a dream while he was in the final year of post graduate study. “I studied clinical pathology…nothing to do with food,” Ogwudire said with a hearty laughter. “I didn’t think at all there was any way that I’d run a restaurant,” Ogwudire had never thought of any other prospects until he dreamed of running a restaurant, then he decided to follow the dream and see what would come of it. 

 

Initiating an African-Caribbean restaurant in an English community in early 90s was not an easy task; Ogwudire had to deal with pressure from both his family and the society. “There is no history of culinary industry in my family,” Ogwudire said with a thoughtful expression; to them, running a restaurant while holding a medical degree was unimaginable. Even so, Ogwudire persisted in scratching out his dream with a brilliant business plan. But such a restaurant was an unprecedented attempt and needed more than a piece of paper to take form. The initiation of Zanzibar was a slow stew, which Ogwudire flavoured with “a lot of marketing resolution and faith.” 

 

When finally launched in 1993, the restaurant took the name “UK Mama.” What Ogwudire had in mind was the image of his mother cooking in the kitchen back home in Nigeria, “I remember my mother always singing and happy cooking in the kitchen.” Ogwudire’s mother is the muse for his cooking style and business philosophy, “There’s always love for the food and the people we’re cooking for.” With such value, UK Mama had built a good reputation over years until Ogwudire felt the need to re-identify his business. “People often took us for an Italian restaurant due to the term ‘mama,’” Ogwudire recalled. After a search and brainstorming, UK Mama was re-launched as “Zanzibar,” which bears a denotation that promotes drinks, “we’re letting people know that it’s more than a restaurant, that they can also have a drink here if they want to.” Alongside the literal implication, Ogwudire picked the name with the view to replicating the quality of “Zanzibar-” one of the least polluted places in Africa- in his restaurant. “It’s a beautiful place- homely, full of good food and hospitable people,” says Ogwudire in a vigorous tone. Starting a new page with his business, Ogwudire reinforced his determination, “I want it to be a unique place of Africa in the UK, established for all people- across races.”

 

At ‘Zanzibar,’ members of staff know each other’s tricks. To maintain the authenticity and quality of both African and Caribbean cuisines, all the chefs- including Ogwudire himself- need to cook in both styles properly. “I have to learn the way my chefs know, and they have to learn both styles,” Ogwudire explains his strategy of quality control, which is partly attributed to the fact that he works part time at the hospital a few days during the week, “so that when I’m not around, they can still prepare every dish with consistent quality.” Apart from inclusive proficiency, respect is another key that binds the team. Ogwudire regards his chefs as competent professionals and even leaves his menu open to input, “if they come in with a good recipe that I didn’t know, I would add it to the menu.” Such respect derives from an accommodating perspective, “it’s about realising the heritage that all black people come from the same continent- Africa.” And heritage is inevitably related to the history of slave trade, which caused migration from the continent of Africa to the Caribbean region. Ogwudire explains the cultural aspect in food using the deviation of ‘Jololff rice’ as an example: it was cooked with black eye peas in Africa but turned into ‘rice and peas’ (with kidney beans) over time after reaching the Caribbean. This is how history is reflected in food; deviation is inevitable while traces of common origin can often be found. 

 

 

‘Zanzibar’ takes pride in its authentic cuisines, “the inspiration for our menu comes from my mother, so it’s definitely traditional and authentic.” But in line with the insistence in originality lies flexibility. “Chilies are essential especially to Caribbean cuisines,” but this principle never impedes adaptation; Ogwudire is always ready to adjust the spiciness of his dishes- oftentimes reducing the heat for customers. Still chilies never work alone, not in African-Caribbean cooking anyway, “how you balance different spices with chillies that go into a dish is very important; it affects the aroma and flavour of the food.” “Cooking is like creating art,” Ogwudire believes that ingredients in a dish- as colours in a painting- need to complement one another so as to achieve polyphony to please the taste bud. 

Five common mistakes self-employed people make when claiming expenses... ENDS HERE! By Emily Coltman

There is a question many people ask, why are some people more successful? Is it smartness? Working harder? Risk takers? Having powerful and infl uential friends?

Keeping your books on the right track By Emily Coltman

Independent Booksellers' Week

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9 Healthy Foods that are High in Vitamin D

Vitamin D is unique, because it can be obtained from food and sun exposure.

However, up to 50% of the world’s population may not get enough sunlight, and 40% of people in the US are deficient in vitamin D

This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.

Here are 9 healthy foods that are high in vitamin D.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a popular fatty fish and also a great source of vitamin D.

According to nutrient databases, one 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of salmon contains between 361 and 685 IU of vitamin D

However, it is usually not specified whether salmon is wild or farmed. This might not seem important, but it can make a big difference.

One study found that wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, on average. That’s 247% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Farmed salmon contained only 25% of that amount, on average. Still, that means a serving of farmed salmon contains about 250 IU of vitamin D, which is 63% of the RDI

Bottom Line: Wild salmon is better.

2. Herring and Sardines

Herring is a fish eaten around the world. It can be served raw, canned, smoked or pickled.

It’s also one of the best sources of vitamin D.

Fresh Atlantic herring provides 1,628 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, which is four times the RDI

If fresh fish isn’t your thing, pickled herring is also a great source of vitamin D, providing 680 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. That’s 170% of the RDI.

Sardines are another type of herring that is also a good source of vitamin D. One serving contains 272 IU, which is 68% of the RDI

Other types of fatty fish are also good vitamin D sources. Halibut provides 600 IU per serving and mackerel provides 360 IU per serving

Be warned, these food come with a lot of salt, so definitely limit and watch your intake.

Bottom Line: Herring contains 1,628 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. Pickled herring, sardines and other fatty fish such as halibut and mackerel are also good sources.

3. Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is a popular supplement. If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil can be a good way to obtain certain nutrients that are hard to get from other sources.

At about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml), cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D. It’s been used for many years to prevent and treat deficiency in children

However, it’s best to be cautious with cod liver oil and not take more than you need.

Bottom Line: Cod liver oil contains 450 IU of vitamin D per teaspoon (4.9 ml). It is also high in other nutrients, such as vitamin A.

4. Canned Tuna

Many people enjoy canned tuna because of its light flavour and the fact that it can be kept on-hand in the pantry.

It is also usually cheaper than buying fresh fish.

Canned light tuna contains up to 236 IU of vitamin D in a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving, which is more than half of the RDI.

Light tuna is typically a better choice than white tuna.

Bottom Line: Canned tuna contains 236 IU of vitamin D per serving. Choose light tuna and eat 6 oz or less per week

5. Oysters

Oysters are a type of clam that live in salt water. They are delicious, low in calories and full of nutrients.

 

One 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of wild oysters has only 68 calories, but contains 320 IU of vitamin D, or 80% of the RDI.

In addition, one serving of oysters contains 2–6 times more than the RDI of vitamin B12, copper and zinc — far more than multivitamins contain.

Bottom Line: Oysters are full of nutrients and provide 320 IU of vitamin D. They also contain more vitamin B12, copper and zinc than a multivitamin.

6. Shrimp

Shrimp are a popular type of shellfish.

Yet unlike most other seafood sources of vitamin D, shrimp are very low in fat.

Despite this fact, they still contain a good amount of vitamin D — 152 IU per serving, or 38% of the RDI

Bottom Line: Shrimp contain 152 IU of vitamin D per serving and are also very low in fat. They do contain cholesterol, but this is not a cause for concern.

7. Egg Yolks

Luckily for people who don’t like fish, seafood is not the only source of vitamin D. Whole eggs are another good source, as well as a wonderfully nutritious food.

While most of the protein in an egg is found in the egg white, the fat, vitamins and minerals are found mostly in the egg yolk.

One conventionally grown egg yolk contains between 18 and 39 IU of vitamin D, which isn’t very high

However, pasture-raised chickens that roam outside in the sunlight produce eggs with levels that are three to four times higher

Choosing eggs that are either from chickens raised outside or that are marketed as high in vitamin D can be a great way to help meet your daily requirements.

Bottom Line: Eggs from commercially raised hens contain only about 30 IU of vitamin D per yolk. However, eggs from hens raised outside or fed vitamin D-enriched feed contain much higher levels.

8. Mushrooms

Excluding fortified foods, mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.

Similar to humans, mushrooms can synthesize this vitamin when exposed to UV light

Some varieties contain up to 2,300 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving.

Commercially grown mushrooms, on the other hand, are often grown in the dark and contain very little vitamin D2.

Bottom Line: Only wild mushrooms or mushrooms treated with UV light are good sources of vitamin D.

9. Fortified Foods

Natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially if you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish.

Fortunately, some foods that don’t naturally contain vitamin D are fortified with it.

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk, the type of milk that most people drink, is naturally a good source of many nutrients including calcium, phosphorous and riboflavin

In several countries, cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. It usually contains about 130 IU per cup (237 ml), or about 33% of the RDI.

Soy Milk

Because vitamin D is found almost exclusively in animal products, vegetarians and vegans are at particularly high risk of not getting enough of it.

For this reason, plant-based milks such as soy milk are also often fortified with it, as well as other vitamins and minerals usually found in cow’s milk.

Orange Juice

Around 75% of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, and another 2–3% have a milk allergy

For this reason, some countries fortify orange juice with vitamin D and other nutrients, such as calcium.

One cup (237 ml) of fortified orange juice for breakfast can start your day off with up to 142 IU of vitamin D, or 36% of the RDI

Cereal and Oatmeal

 

Certain cereals and instant oatmeal are also fortified with vitamin D.One half-cup serving of these foods can provide between 55 and 154 IU, or up to 39% of the RDI

 

Although fortified cereals and oatmeal provide less vitamin D than many natural sources, they can still be a good way to boost your intake.

Bottom Line: Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, including cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals and oatmeal. They contain between 55 and 130 IU per serving.

Take Home Message

Spending some time outside in the sun is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. However, getting sufficient sun exposure is not possible for many people.

Getting enough from your diet alone is difficult, but not impossible.

Eating plenty of these vitamin D-rich foods is a great way to make sure you get enough of this important nutrient.

Fourteen year old South African Zameer Dada has been crowned the 1st ever African spelling bee champion.

Dada beat 26 other top spellers from nine African countries to be crowned Africa's champion orthographer.

The contestants came from all corners of the continent. Some of the nations represented include Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria and Lesotho.

Competitors may be separated by borders, but are united by a mastery of the Queen's language. One by one they took to friendly rivalry, belting out words in an attempt to be Africa's top speller.

As the words got trickier the numbers dwindled.

First prize proved elusive to many.

It was down to the top three contenders - South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia all looking to make history.

Dada was all too happy to share his winning formula.

Organisers say they are working towards greater participation. They say the inaugural competition is one way to celebrate the African child.

Policing Issues In Regard To Female Genital Mutilation In The UK

JUNE 8, 2016

tags: Policy, Politics, Female genital mutilation (FGM), Law, #FGM, Multi-Agency, Schools, Legal, Public health, Prevention, #EndFGM, HTPs, Labour Party, Home Affairs Policy Commission, Policing, Enforcement, LSCBs, PSHRE, Volunteers, Activists, Health services

The British Labour Party Home Affairs policy commission is currently investigating the topic of police reform. I was invited to make a written submission on how I think the police could improve their response to victims of FGM or those who are at risk of becoming victims.

 

What follows comprises my draft submission – but I am acutely aware there is still much work to do on this difficult topic.  I hope my submission will help the discussion along. Your thoughts are also very welcome.

 

Please note: This is a DRAFT document. Comments and queries are very welcome via the response box at the end of this piece. Thank you.

 

 

Policing Issues in Regard to Female Genital Mutilation in the UK

 

Hilary Burrage   (June 2016)

 

Contents

 

Introduction

FGM in Britain / the UK

Cultural and gender (non-)diversity in the Police Force

Wider legal measures in enforcing the eradication of FGM in Britain

Who is at risk of or has FGM? Who does it?

Other FGM-related factors

 

Child ‘marriage’

 

Age of consent

 

Asylum

 

Mothers and daughters

 

FGM practising community contexts

 

6.Effective policing of FGM – protection

 

Incomplete awareness of FGM

 

The ‘cutting’ season/s

 

Mandatory reporting

 

Protecting the interests of the child (or vulnerable adult)

 

Work in schools and with young people

 

Safety of victims / survivors

 

Engaging the community

 

7. Effective policing of FGM – enforcement and prosecution

 

Contexts – FGM is not a ‘women’s’ (or a ‘health’) problem

 

Police investigations

 

Multi-agency collaboration

 

Legally admissible evidence on FGM

 

Issues around choice: cosmetic surgery (‘designer vagina’) and male circumcision

 

8. General issues and considerations

 

9. Strategic (high-level policy) recommendations

 

10. Conclusion

 

Appendix 1: Parameters of this paper

 

Appendix 2: Harmful traditional practices (HTPs) and other human rights abuse

 

Appendix 3: Recommendations of the HMIC inspection of the police response to honour-based

 

violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation

 

Appendix 4: Further reading

 

~ ~ ~ 

 

Introduction

A British sociologist and writer, my concerns about female genital mutilation (FGM) extend back to the 1980s, and for the past decade – as the continuing enormity of the extensiveness of this abuse has become clear – FGM has been an increasingly major focus of my work.

 

I am the author of Eradicating Female Genital Mutilation: A UK Perspective (Ashgate / Routledge, 2015)[1] and of Female Mutilation: The truth behind the horrifying global practice of female genital mutilation (New Holland Publishing, 2016)[2]. I am also the Guardian newspaper Consultant on FGM[3] and my website[4] carries in-depth coverage of issues around FGM.  I have been an active member of the Labour Party for almost forty years.

 

Please note that this response to the Home Affairs policy commission on police reform refers only to FGM and closely related matters, and is simply an introductory note which I hope will provide some pointers to more fully consideration of the issues in this area.[5]  Appendix 1 briefly explores these parameters.

 

There will inevitably be many junctures where concerns regarding FGM merge with, or are in some instances in opposition to, other important aspects of policing.  Appendix 2 offers some information on other forms of harmful traditional practices (HTPs) which, alongside FGM and another global crime against the person, human trafficking, are serious, criminal infringements of human rights and bodily integrity under both UK and international law. Harmful practices (eg sexual abuse and corporal punishment of children) occur in every part of the world and must also be considered.

 

Appendix 3 comprises a summary of some of the policing issues currently identified by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary as relating to FGM and, particularly, ‘honour’ based violence (HBV) and forced marriage (FM) – though not child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) together, all of which are highly relevant to FGM.[6]

 

NB: British legal and enforcement practices concerning FGM and other violence against women and girls (VAWG) are currently developing rapidly and in a state of flux.  Further general reading is offered as Appendix 4 of this submission.

 

 

 

2. FGM in Britain / the UK

 

A general introduction to female genital mutilation (FGM) and approaches to its eradication can be found here.[7]  Precise data on victim mortality is not available, but FGM is known to cause death – either immediately or later on – in a substantial number of cases.  Infants also die as a result of difficult deliveries when mothers have had FGM. Further, whilst cause and effect are often not perceived by the communities concerned, FGM almost always has permanent implications for victims’ physical and psychological health, including trauma, obstetric fistula and life-long infections.

 

Around 200 million women and girls now alive globally have experienced FGM,[8] [9] of whom estimates suggest that between around 137[10] [11] and 170[12] thousand women and girls in the UK have undergone or are at risk of undergoing it.  This estimation of British numbers continues to rise in part because increasing awareness and reporting measures[13] around FGM are revealing a greater incidence and exposure to risk, and also because there are now more people from traditionally practising parts of the world who have become resident in the UK.  (A similar pattern of increasingly large estimates seems to be emerging in the USA.[14] )

 

Additionally, it may be that the incidence in some communities within the UK is increasing because FGM is perceived by members as a marker of ‘difference’ and of adherence to the ‘traditional values’ in those communities. Likewise, in traditionally practising diaspora communities which may adhere to FGM the demographic profile indicates that the number of girls and young women who may be exposed to FGM is rising, as the original immigrants to Britain settle and raise their own families.

 

Conversely, in other traditionally practising diaspora communities exposure to Western understandings has reduced the incidence of FGM; but it is also important to acknowledge that there are serious campaigns to eradicate FGM in many of these countries of origin.

 

But whilst precise data about the number of women and girls with FGM, or at risk of it, in the UK has yet to be determined, it is important to recognise that any form of FGM, whether inflicted in the UK or abroad, is illegal under British and international law – just as FGM is also now illegal in most of the countries where traditionally it has been the custom.

 

To date in the UK there have been no successful prosecutions for committing the crime of, nor have there been many significant court actions as a result of, FGM.[15]  The issues which underpin this situation have recently been examined by, amongst others, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.[16] The HMIC’s recommendations for action by the police are referenced in Appendix 3 below.

 

 

 

3. Cultural and gender (non-)diversity in the Police

 

Despite some recent interventions, the UK police force as a whole is far from diverse.  Accepting always the risk of a degree of harsh, unfair-to-some stereotyping, it can be said that the large majority of British police officers are white males with limited insight into / knowledge of the wider world beyond their own experience. Officers with non-diverse backgrounds will find it very difficult to engender trust or to ‘read’ the implications of activities in minority cultural communities; important indicators of the need for intervention will be missed.  Overall, this does not equip the police service well when trying to expose and deal with poorly understood and usually covert crimes against individuals who cannot speak out about what is happening.

 

 

 

The Police are insufficiently diverse in respect to ethnicity, gender and cultural background. This has very wide implications (including the charge of institutional racism[17]) and is particularly important in issues around the protection of vulnerable members of the community.

Further, the nature of FGM is in any case particularly sensitive.  It is an intimate, gendered crime which often hinges on nuances of conduct, language and perception which make communication with the (potential) victim difficult – if the victim is willing to engage at all, which she may well not be, especially in the presence of men not from her community.  Making matters even more complex, if there is the prospect of a discussion between a victim and a police or other legal officer via an interpreter or with a ‘friend’ or chaperone in attendance, that third party must be someone independent who will not influence or be influenced by the victim’s family or other community members.

 

It is too late, if independent (and trained) third parties for interpretation / chaperoning whilst victims are in the care of the Police have not been identified before the need for them arises.

 

 

4. Legal measures in enforcing the eradication of FGM in Britain

 

The eradication of FGM is a complex matter, whether in the UK or other parts of the globe, but in essence the issues coalesce around what I have termed the ‘4Es’:[18]

 

Engagement (genuine involvement in the relevant community)

Education (both about FGM itself, but also crucially schooling as such – for girls, boys and where possible their parents and wider families)

Enforcement (appropriate legislation and its effective application)   and

Economics (recognition of FGM as an element in economic transactions embedded in millennia of tradition which by default no-one in a community would contemplate questioning).

Overall, that the most effective way to eliminate FGM in the UK is via a strongly supported and rigorous Public Health approach[19] [20] involving all the ‘Es’ above. It is the third of these elements, enforcement, which will be considered here.

 

It is important to note that the legal and policing issues vary in some respects, depending on whether the person (potential victim / survivor) is a child or adult; but in every case FGM is illegal.

 

A Guardian article[21] which Dexter Dias QC, Felicity Gerry QC and I co-authored examines some of the difficulties which may arise in enforcing the prohibition of FGM in Britain.  Amongst the aspects to be considered are inadequacies within the legislation itself (various of these weak points have now been remediated[22], thanks largely to the efforts of the attorneys as above and their Bar human rights colleagues[23] [24]).

 

To quote from the most recent (April 2016) Government guidance, for England and Wales[25]:

 

FGM is illegal in England and Wales under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

 

 

 

As amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015, the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 now includes:

 

An offence of failing to protect a girl from the risk of FGM;

Extra-territorial jurisdiction over offences of FGM committed abroad by UK nationals and those habitually (as well as permanently) resident in the UK;

Lifelong anonymity for victims of FGM;

FGM Protection Orders which can be used to protect girls at risk; and

A mandatory reporting duty which requires specified professionals [in regulated activity[26] ] to report known cases of FGM in under 18s to the police.

Wider challenges for the relevant enforcement and protection authorities are more directly associated with the contexts in which FGM is likely to arise.  These latter are very significant in respect of policing.

 

It is also however important to note that the Police are not the only agency with direct responsibility to enforce legislation about FGM.  Other agencies include the Border Agency[27] / authorities[28] and Traffic Police etc.

 

 

 

5. Who is at risk of FGM? And who does it?

 

It is vital that the Police (and other enforcement agencies) do not have set ideas about who may, or may not, be vulnerable to FGM or other harmful traditional practices.  The stereotype is that FGM is done by ‘Muslims’ – a stereotype which is not only wide of the mark, but also deeply offensive to the majority of followers of Islam (a faith with many different schools of thought, eg Sunni and Shia, and a breadth of contrasts similar to that of the divide between, say Roman Catholics and Quakers within Christianity) who would not consider and do not practice FGM.

 

The reality is that FGM is historically a tribal practice; the incidence of FGM in traditionally practising countries shows that it spreads across national and formal faith divides according to the customs of the area.

 

FGM is a feature of many more locations than those usually first considered ‘in Africa’.  There is evidence that it occurs in every continent[29] and across all main religions and in communities with local / animist beliefs as well.

 

Having said that, however, we do know that the risk of FGM is greater in some parts of the world than in others; and that the type of mutilation carried out also varies between locations.  Sometimes these differences translate into clear parallels in diaspora communities, and sometimes not (as above, p.2).  In the words of Christine Nanjala-Ndenga, the lawyer who is chief prosecutor for FGM in Kenya, ‘the practice of FGM is struggling to remain relevant and as a result it keeps on changing ever day’.[30]

 

Further, assumptions about who is delivering the mutilation need constantly to be checked.  Whilst there are still parts of the world where traditional ‘midwives’ or ‘cutters’ are usually those who carry out the criminal act, it is a prime concern of the World Health Organisation that, increasingly, FGM is performed by clinically trained personnel who offer anaesthesia and aseptic procedures – for a fee.

 

The trend towards medicalisation, however, does not reduce the illegality of the crime, and it is still a very dangerous assault, as the recent deaths of girls in Egypt demonstrate.[31]

 

The Police must be vigilant in developing an awareness of FGM, but they must not permit stereotypes to shape their understandings of where FGM may occur, or by whom it may be delivered. Awareness is not however at present high, and seems on occasion to be masked by a focus on other (also very serious) concerns such as forced marriage, which more likely to be reported to the Police (FGM is almost never reported by victims[32]).  But all these practices are criminal, and sometimes they occur together.

It is also vital that enforcement agencies recognise the constantly changing scenarios in which FGM occurs, and by whom it is done. Medicalisation and traditional methods of FGM require different investigations.

 

 

6. Other FGM-related factors

 

Child ‘marriage’

 

Child ‘marriage’[33] (legally sanctioned rape, or paedophilia) is also a factor in the practice of FGM, which may be a preparation for such ‘marriage’, perhaps to an older man who already has other wives.  Such contracts, usually involving bride price and / or other financial transactions, will normally mark the end of the child-bride’s schooling; and they may also result in premature pregnancy, with all the health perils that entails.[34]  Obviously, these arrangements are not formally recorded in the UK, although they probably happen in some communities. Child marriage is largely unacknowledged in discussions of policing FGM in Britain, but it must be recognised as a potential danger.[35]

 

What is not looked for will not be seen. This is probably the case with child ‘marriage’, where almost always a girl apparently goes missing from school and only the formalities of absence from education are observed. Close enforcement / protection liaison with school absence officers (and maternity services – if the girl accesses them) might reveal a hitherto unrecognised additional pattern of child abuse. The Police must become aware of the possibility that diaspora communities which practice FGM may also, illicitly, be sanctioning child ‘marriage’.

Age of consent

 

One issue to note in respect of child marriage is that many countries (eg some nations in Africa) now fix the minimum age for marriage at 18, at least for girls – whilst in Britain it is 16 for both sexes (with parental consent in England and Wales, and without that in Scotland). Very early ‘marriage’ to older men is often a followed by what is essentially slavery for the girl. [36]

 

Since some older teenagers are likely to engage in sex whether or not they will be breaking the law, perhaps the age at which marriage is permitted should, in the modern context, be different from that of the age of consent, given always that the age is set at an appropriate (later teens) point, equally for boys and girls, and with safe and easy access to sexual health services.

 

A debate in the UK context about the age of consent and that for marriage is probably overdue. Open discussion of issues such as the availability of relationship / sex education, and of contraception and protection from infection is also required. The Police, with their particular experience of the outcomes of various types of risk to which young people are exposed, have an important perspective to offer in such dialogue.

Asylum

 

Potentially very significant consequences may also arise when women who have, or claim fear of, FGM arrive as migrants or refuges to the UK and seek asylum.[37] [38]  There has been serious criticism of the way that such claims are handled, and of the failure of authorities to acknowledge that FGM is an internationally recognised reason, as human rights abuse, for claiming asylum.[39]

 

It is frequently reported that these factors are dismissed, or the woman is simply disbelieved – her own family may want to save face / preserve ‘honour’, or avoid prosecution for harm inflicted.  Further, the officials concerned may be poorly (if at all) informed about FGM and the woman, understandably, may find it very difficult to identify formally that FGM is the basis of her claim for FGM, which is often not even mentioned in the initial interviews, conducted by men whom the woman has never met before and who do not understand her culture.  (Being interviewed by an official who is also a member of the particular community also has perils – will he tell others in that community, even though he should not?)

 

It must be understood that women who seek asylum citing FGM as a factor in their need for protection are especially vulnerable and in need of care and privacy as their claim goes forward.

Mothers and daughters

 

Particularly sensitive is the issue of pregnant women who are known or believed to have experienced FGM, and the prospect that FGM may also be inflicted on any female babies she may have.  This possibility is now checked in the course of the ‘FGM pathway’[40] which UK midwives provide for expectant mothers, and there may be instances where FGM is reported to the police.  Health visitors and others may also be alerted where there is a concern that the mother / parents may, in turn, seek for their daughter to undergo FGM.

 

Clear and well understood protocols are required for the Police in handling issues around both the possibility that the daughters of woman with FGM may – but also may not – be at risk of FGM.

FGM practising community contexts

 

FGM is normally (not always[41]) arranged and / or inflicted on victims by family members who, despite testimony to the contrary from some who have been ‘punished’ by FGM, claim to be doing it for the ‘good’ of the person harmed.

 

This situation, instigated by family members, places (potential or post hoc) victims in a double bind: on one hand they require protection and / or medical care, but on the other hand if they know about and seek required attention they expose their own family members to the prospect of legal sanction – something which, almost always, daughters are unequivocally unwilling to visit upon their mothers, aunts and / or grandmothers, especially as there is at present no legal precedent in the UK for what might happen next.

 

The focus in the first instance is the safety of the child or vulnerable woman and it is her safety which is the rationale for reporting.  Ultimately, if criminal cases go to court, the judge, not any of the professionals with the original concerns, will decide after receiving required reports what sanctions may or may not be applied should the accused be found guilty. But it is also judges who have the authority to deliver court orders which can prevent the harm being inflicted in the first place.

 

The likely outcomes of police involvement in FGM cases (prevention of, and / or protection from further harm) are not widely understood by either victims or family and community members. There needs to be clarity about the role of the police in ensuring that the safety of the child is the first priority.

It is also essential that all professionals who become involved – midwives, teachers, police etc – understand that reporting concerns to the authorities is a direct responsibility; what happens legally thereafter is not. This is critical because it removes the fear, often cited by all sides (family members to eg midwives) that reporting FGM, or the risk of it, will necessarily result in ‘breaking up the family’.

 

 

7. Effective policing of FGM – protection

 

Incomplete awareness of FGM

 

Some UK communities in which FGM has been found, or is suspected, are relatively isolated from the mainstream. There is considerable evidence that not all those involved don’t know about the dangers of FGM, or even that it is strictly illegal in Britain.[42] Similarly, there is sometimes confusion about terminology: ‘sunna’, for instance, may not be understood to be FGM.  These matters have no impact on the legal status of FGM as a crime, but they may influence understandings at the local level.

 

It is important that messages about FGM are understood by those who have or at risk of, FGM. A comprehensive account by the police and other agencies of local terms used is therefore an essential tool in eradication – and also an essential aspect of ensuring that victims know they are entitled to health care for the harm done.  (FGM must however always be the term employed in formal and professional discourse.)

The ‘cutting season/s’

 

There is now awareness amongst public service and voluntary agencies that the so-called ‘cutting season’ places girls at particular risk.  What is less well known however is that this season is often traditionally connected with the harvest (a time of greater wealth) in any particular community – so it may occur at any time of the year, depending on the different locations.

 

Border intelligence is vital to the reducing risk of girls being sent ‘home’ for FGM.  It is illegal in the UK to assist in sending girls abroad for mutilation.

 

Information om different traditional times for FGM in different parts of the world is vital.

Mandatory reporting

 

Mandatory reporting by those in regulated activity in the UK is now required. The protocols are however inadequate and confusing.  This matter is discussed in more detail here.[43]  The coordination of reporting and care is not adequate either in terms of agencies or of localities.

 

Mandatory reporting is essential to protect children from various sorts of harm, but it must be revisited to ensure a seamless process which can be used with confidence, both by those who are mandated to report and those whose safety needs protection.

Protecting the interests of the child (or vulnerable adult)

 

The initial steps in reporting concerns about a child at risk of FGM are unsatisfactory, but in the immediate period after a child has been identified as at risk of, or has undergone, FGM there is a formal pathway for referral.[44] [45] What happens in the medium and longer term is however often less fully considered.  How should the interests of the child, independently from all other involved, be protected and promoted?

 

There are currently moves to press for independent (third party) advocates for children at risk of / experiencing trafficking,[46] a strategy which has been judged effective.[47]  The Government has however resisted calls to provide all trafficked children with an independent advocate[48] despite the Council of Europe Convention (2005)[49] and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,[50] which require adherence to four fundamental principles: the best interests of the child; the right of the child to be heard; the right to life and development; non-discrimination.

 

These same fundamental principles apply equally to children who have, or may, experience FGM and other harmful traditional practices; and in France an officially appointed third party – rather like the UK Guardian ad Litem[51] –  acts solely in the interests of children who have had FGM throughout any legal proceedings, including making decisions on future financial interests (the French require FGM perpetrators to pay compensation to girls they harm).

 

It is essential – and in the interests also of legal / enforcement officers – that a set procedure to protect the interests of any child (or other vulnerable person) as the law on FGM takes its course.

 

 

Child protection agencies and Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)

 

A plethora of voluntary agencies involved in child protection exist and much of the work in this field is set out to tender.  It is therefore difficult to determine who has ultimate responsibility.

 

Further, the status of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards, which are supposed to bring together the voluntary and statutory agencies involved, is unclear; the organisations are not obliged to collaborate and the funding is inadequate, as the Welsh report on LSCBs demonstrates.[52]

 

Serious attention is required to ensure the effectiveness of LSCBs, especially across local authority borders, and accountability for effectiveness in safeguarding children overall must be clarified.

Work in schools

 

Schools are the only point at which almost every child is connected with the state, but, despite campaigns such as that run by the Guardian,[53] the impact they can have on protecting children from harm is often overlooked (other curriculum demands are consistently made). Community liaison officers and school nurses are essential to delivering the messages and supporting teachers who provide Personal, Health, Social and Relationship Education (PHSRE).

 

There is also important scope here for other Youth Service input, helping to reduce the possibility that disaffected young people may become radicalised (cf the Home Office ‘Channel’ programme,[54] which some believe needs further consideration) or permanently marginalised from wider society.[55]

 

Clear policies must be developed to encompass PSHRE and wider child safety / protection in schools and other youth settings.

 

 

Safety of victims

 

The issues around protection of children and of adult women are complex and as yet inadequately addressed, but there is also another very serious problem: how can police guarantee the safety of a child or woman who is perhaps willing to risk charges against her close relatives?

 

At a time when in the UK there are no ‘safe houses’[56] [57]  for young girls to flee FGM or related horrors, and there are also increasingly few places to which women experiencing any sort of violence may escape,[58] the only recourse may be a court order and subsequent formal care.  Not only, however, does almost nobody in the relevant communities know about any of these possibilities, but there is very little likelihood that a woman or girl in an FGM practising community would risk everything – perhaps her whole way of life – by requesting such help, especially if she thereby loses access to the home she has established (and sometimes herself paid for), and/or if she believes such an action will result in permanent exclusion from her family and / or community.

 

‘Safe houses’ have now been established in some traditionally practising countries. They must also be set up in the UK, liaising between the police and other safeguarding agencies. There is an urgent need – easily economically justified, if set against the probable alternative outcomes without safe houses – to develop these protective domiciles for women and girls at risk of gendered violence.

Safe houses serve different purposes for women and girls escaping different imminent risks. Whilst, eg, an abusive partner may well continue to pose a serious threat for years, the same may not be true for a child who avoids FGM and whose parents then learn why this must not happen[59].  In such a case (the latter) it may be possible to reconcile the family members without further risk to the child.  Obviously, the way/s that enforcement personnel respond to these different scenarios must also vary according to anticipated or hoped-for longer term outcomes.

Engaging the community

 

Community liaison is an essential aspect of police work around FGM.  The problem however, as we have noted, is that there are not enough police personnel with a good understanding of the communities involved.  Nonetheless, sometimes it is better – for reasons of confidentiality – if the person involved is not actually a member of that community.

 

It is also critical to understand that FGM will not be stopped ‘simply’ by increasing knowledge around health and similar impacts.  Faith leaders and other activists must be brought into the equation – always recognising that ‘leaders’ may be self-appointed and have complex agendas.

 

A perennial issue when working with community activists is their feeling that they are being exploited, unpaid, to do the ‘real’ work of outside agencies.  This issue has as yet hardly even been recognised.

 

Development of fair and effective protocols between the police and communities is required as a matter of urgency.

 

 

8. Effective policing of FGM – enforcement and prosecution

 

Contexts: FGM is not a ‘women’s’ (or a ‘health’) problem

 

The legal situation in regard to FGM is non-negotiable, but processes to uphold it may vary according to context.  Nonetheless, it is important to see that FGM is not at base a ‘women’s’ or a ‘health’ problem.  It is a seriously illegal act which requires pro-active intervention by the police, working where possible with other agencies.

 

Excuses for inaction by the Police are not acceptable; they must be convincingly, and of course sensitively and appropriately, at the forefront of action to stop this happening to children. In other words, interventions must be carefully considered and agreed with, but not always led by, other agencies.

Investigations

 

Cross-border and community intelligence is vital to investigations of where and by whom FGM may be inflicted on children.  This includes pro-active use of the same sorts of methodologies employed to detect other crime – ie the use of full IT analyses etc.

 

The Police have not for the most part (there are honourable exceptions) so far demonstrated an enthusiasm for pro-active investigations of possible FGM. To gain traction they must revisit and improve upon this position, learning wherever possible from colleagues who have already focussed on the issues.

Multi-agency collaboration

 

Midwives, general medical practitioners (GPs), health visitors, teachers, youth workers, social and probation officers etc all have an important role to play in eradicating FGM in Britain.  Multi-agency liaison is there critical to success; but how these collaborations are conducted requires more consideration: there is a risk of inter-professional contestation[60] unless clear direction at a higher level is evident.   And at present the role of Public Health is frequently overlooked, perhaps in part because its status as a service provider is currently a matter of some debate, at least in England.[61]

 

It is not enough to provide ‘multi-agency’ guidelines. Clear top-level direction (and accountability) is also required in ensuring that each sector performs optimally. Further, the very important contribution which Public Health – the overarching service – can bring to delivery has been little considered.

Legally admissible evidence of FGM

 

On occasion it is necessary to examine a child or woman intimately to ascertain whether, or to what extent, damage from FGM has taken place.   Questions of consent in such cases are much like those in other instances of suspected intimate violence but there is also another issue, legal rather than medical, which is rarely acknowledged: what is the nature of the ‘evidence’ required, to suggest FGM has occurred?

 

Medical anthropology concerning FGM is currently an incomplete science, as a case brought to the Family Court quite recently[62] demonstrates: there was inconclusive visual evidence that the small girl had been ‘cut’, but the possibility that the ‘tool’ for the assault (as a baby) might have been a sharp finger nail, leaving not a clear scar but an indeterminate mark[63], was not considered. Yet, as the 2015 RCOG Guidance indicates,[64] that is the mode of FGM in some communities.

 

Police surgeons and prosecutors must work with medical anthropologists to determine what sort of evidence, given by whom, is appropriate for legal cases to go forward. Medical anthropology is not however currently well equipped to respond to this need; the emphasis, especially in the USA, continues in most cases to be on a relativist (anthr/apologist[65]) stance which sometimes overlooks legal prohibition.  In the first instance therefore this will require serious research to identify the indicators for different types of harm.

 

 

Issues around choice: ‘designer vagina’ and male circumcision

 

Whilst questions of choice in regard to, eg, genital cosmetic surgery (‘designer vagina’) are complex, it must be acknowledged – as some legal experts in the police have observed[66] – that these matters muddy the waters, at least in respect of adults who choose to have the surgery (there is a growing feeling that children are very unlikely to be eligible[67]).

 

The situation in regard to male circumcision (male genital mutilation, MGM) is also highly contentious,  with some claiming it is ‘different’ from FGM and others disagreeing[68] – although deaths from MGM are regularly reported.

 

It is essential that the contested issues of ‘designer vagina’ and male circumcision be fully clarified, bearing always in mind that the issues of consent (possible only for adults) are critical.

9. General issues and considerations

 

It would be difficult to claim that the current position concerning FGM and policing is tenable or effective.  Despite some highly committed work by all parties, the gulf between the police, other professionals and the communities which may practice FGM is wide.

 

Doubtless, the aim by various UK organisations to eradicate FGM ‘in a generation’, or ‘in 15 years’ is genuinely held, but measurements of time without open measurement also of planned and directed, allocated resources tend to have little meaning.   For that reason, in my view, the emphasis on ‘multi-agency’ work alone will not put an end to FGM in the UK (or indeed anywhere else; but I will discuss here only the UK context).  The multi-agency approach is a necessary component of, but not alone an adequate or sufficient pathway to, FGM eradication.

 

What is missing is accountable leadership, both within and, even more importantly, across the many organisational elements involved in combatting FGM.   The first vital point here is this: there must be leadership, and it must be openly accountable, both to those who are most affected and to those who, as UK citizens, are footing the bill. And the second vital point? Accountability and resourcing both require a thorough understanding of the issues and how they inter-connect.

 

But currently ‘the bill’– required resourcing – for eradicating FGM is an amorphous notion, spread variously and in small amounts across many, not necessarily conjoined, public and third sector organisations (all of which need to pay their own staff and costs) and in even smaller amounts between the critically important community groups and activists who often ‘work’ for no payment, not even expenses – a guaranteed way to ensure distrust, or at best uncomfortable co-existence, between different parties with the same declared objective.  It is hardly surprising that this set-up has yet to deliver eradication.

 

This situation of course applies to many other aspects of social policy in general, and policing in particular.   To be blunt, it is symptomatic of a general politic which has little sympathy or time for comprehensive and co-ordinated, carefully cost-effective, approaches to socio-economic challenges. Currently, the emphasis is, rather, on what can be delivered by small-scale intervention (preferably, if the time is right, with maximum publicity) and occasional appeals to ‘collaboration’ – another way of promoting the ‘multi-agency’ approach.

 

Such positioning is unlikely, however, to deliver longer-term.  A different (or at least more comprehensive) approach is required.

 

 

 

10. Strategic (high level policy) observations and recommendations

 

These are some suggested strategies, with particular focus on the role of the police, for securing safety of women and children and the eradication of FGM and related human rights abuses in the UK:

 

Acknowledge that human rights abuses are fundamentally connected with economics and power. Somewhere along the line someone is probably making money from the abuse, or / or feels a ‘need’ – psychological or economic – to subject the abused person/s to their will.  Mostly, FGM and similar cruelties are organised crime; it’s big business which has long roots into history and sprawling branches across many national borders.

Once this is recognised there is a cogent case for approaching abuses in a co-ordinated way.  Abuse is a crime and, from the perspective of law enforcement, it must be tackled as such.  And human rights abuses often come ‘packaged’; they connect in that one, say FGM, is a ‘requirement’ for another, say CEFM.  But whether or not packaging of this sort occurs, it is vital to remove the veneer of ‘culture’ from the perceptions of enforcement officers and, as soon as possible, from the understandings of possibly practising communities.

 

The ‘all abuse is crime’ (not so-called culture) perspective may also help squeamish or reluctant officers to cope with what may be for them ‘difficult’ and intimate issues, such as FGM, with its sexual and ‘race’ overtones. (Recognise also however that diversity of service personnel is critical – the aim is to stop the abuse, but for that to happen there must be connectivity with the communities where it occurs.  It must be acknowledged, for instance, that family ties between women who have already experienced FGM and their daughters, who may be at risk or are also victims, result in psychologically complex and delicate relationships which must be factored into enforcement strategies.)

 

Ensure that the ‘abuse is crime’ position is known to everyone. This is a tough call for activists against FGM in possibly practising communities, but, whilst an understanding of the conflicting situation for victim-perpetrators and their victims in turn is necessary, the ‘abuse’ message is fundamental to moving forward.  It must run through campaigns and enforcement measures at every level.

It is therefore critical that all police activity encompasses this position, albeit always modulated by the specifics of the situation and the needs of vulnerable people involved.

 

To this end it must be noted that currently quite often women who have endured FGM are not aware that things could be different, nor do potential victims understand that FGM is a crime and they should not in any circumstances undergo it.  The criticality of collaboration between the police, schools, health workers and community activists and leaders cannot be over-stressed in these contexts.

 

Create a national post to oversee work in defence of human rights and against abuse, and appoint someone to it who can liaise effectively with all the relevant agencies. This person should have power to determine how budgets – decided by Parliament – will be allocated and who will be responsible for what. Publicly recorded criteria for accountability by this person should be fixed by Ministers in conjunction with the post-holder, who will then in turn agree with the lead officer for each agency involved their particular objectives and evaluation / review criteria.

The national post-holder should also be responsible for the inclusion and support (including resources) of currently marginalised community groups and individual activists and volunteers. It is important in this regard to acknowledge that sometimes training is required to enable voluntary groups to engage fully in the process; but likewise sometimes pressure must be applied to persuade professionals in the field (including the police) that volunteers may have more experience – including in some cases formal qualifications – which already qualify them to be fully involved.

 

Consider carefully the implications for delivery on the ground of the various models available. We have already noted that the multi-agency approach as a stand-alone is unlikely to make FGM and related behaviours history; so an alternative overarching model is required. Ideally such a model would provide an inter-disciplinary paradigm (encompassing perspective) for tackling FGM etc which adopts the general positioning of Public Health and encourages collaboration on the basis of mutually agreed understandings and methodologies.

This paradigm would encourage the sharing of knowledge for mutual benefit, with reductions in inter-agency competition for resources (or, in the case of community groups and activists, resentment at lack of them) because the national lead (role / person) would determine allocations of tasks and resource on the basis of best use and demonstrated willingness to collaborate.

 

The new model, in adopting the general perspective of Public Health, can encompass the ‘4Es’ mentioned above, and gives a clear and critical role to policing, both enforcement and protection. Public Health includes issues around legal requirements.  It is the obvious first point of contact between law enforcement and health / humanitarian considerations.

 

With the above considerations in mind, explore the possibility of a national human rights and anti-abuse police unit, rather than the plethora of small specialist, in some respects local, units which currently operate. Also ensure this national unit is fully integrated into international efforts to combat these crimes.

As we have seen, FGM, CEFM, trafficking and many other forms of abuse are inter-connected; and all are at base economic, trading young and female lives for financial reward.  And all are also fluid / chameleon in their presentation.  Enforcement and protection resources will be most effectively employed if the work of those who investigate the practices and their implementation is co-ordinated at a high level, crossing borders and noting changes in behaviours as they occur.

 

The need for such intelligence must be given considerable traction in operational terms.  Those who investigate human rights and abuse crimes must be well equipped to probe the technologies necessarily employed in modern contexts to enact these cruelties.  Further, the investigations must become pro-active, as in other areas of criminal activity.

 

But whilst pro-active investigations are required – it is unacceptable to await reports and complaints before enquiries begin – a protocol specifically addressing the challenges of FGM at the same time as respecting individual privacy and freedom of movement must be developed. Mandatory reporting for those in regulated activity has helped in this respect but obviously it doesn’t really cover police officers – who are the people who receive the reports made by mandated professionals.

Such a protocol would assist considerably in moving on from the concern of some police officers (and likewise teachers, social workers etc) that required professional intervention will be seen as, eg, racist. It must therefore be developed in conjunction with the relevant communities and other directly involved parties.

 

At present there is little common ground between most of these formal and informal agencies; to a significant extent it is the responsibility of the Police, in their roles as enforcers of the law and protectors of the vulnerable, to step up on these issues.

 

Resourcing and financial considerations

 

The human costs of FGM are truly tragic and well documented; but lest anyone imagine otherwise, the economic costs are also enormous.[69]  To date however almost no research has been conducted on the cost effectiveness of interventions to eradicate FGM in Britain.

 

This work must be done as soon as possible.  Not only will it provide important data about the optimal modes of intervention, but it could reveal some measurable information on the costs which are currently ignored to local economies and, most importantly of all, to the families of affected individuals, and the women and girls themselves.[70]

 

Significant resourcing of all the different levels of intervention (statutory, agency and voluntary) is required to eradicate FGM in Britain; but not intervening is far more costly still.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The positioning of the Police in regard to FGM and related human rights abuses has not to date been adequate.  It is very likely that vulnerable people have been harmed who could have been spared the hurt if policing had been more proactive.  (This is also the case in respect of the cancellation in 2011 by Lynne Featherstone whilst a minister of the original previous government’s national FGM coordinator role[71] and thereby the nascent national FGM unit – then only reintroduced some four years later.)

 

The failure of the Police to face up to their important duties around FGM and HTPs has left the field open for others to take the lead (many of them admirably, within their remit).  This situation must be revisited as a matter of urgency.  FGM is far too important to be a marginalised by those who should protect the vulnerable and enforce its eradication.

 

 

 

~ ~ ~

 

 

 

APPENDIX 1: Parameters of this paper

 

 

 

Please note:

 

[1] The observations which follow cannot be taken in isolation as applying ‘only’ to FGM. They are also in general significant in the context of parallel criminal activity such as forced and early ‘marriage’ (in reality community-sanctioned rape) and child ‘marriage’ (sanctioned paedophilia), other forms of (especially sexual) child abuse and harmful traditional practices[72], human trafficking, ‘honour’ killing and related behaviours which violate the human rights of individuals, especially those – often women and children – who are not in a position to defend themselves.  It is important to understand in all these contexts that the crime itself, whilst always an offence against the person, is also at some level economic in its intention: the ultimate aim, overt or otherwise, is to benefit financially from the harm inflicted.[73]

 

 

 

[2] The term ‘victim’ is used throughout this submission, to recognise that individuals who have undergone FGM have been subjected to a crime. It must be noted however that some women and girls with FGM prefer to be referred to as ‘survivors’ – a term which reflects their determination to move forward from the assault.  The use in formal legal parlance of this term, ‘survivor’, requires caution, as it may be perceived to suggest that FGM is a ‘condition’ rather than a crime. Whilst those brave women with experience of FGM who advocate against it almost all prefer to be referred to as ‘survivors’, it is vital to remember that many more do not / cannot so advocate – and all of them have been, in legal terms, victims of a serious crime.

 

 

 

[3] Likewise, whilst many different terms are used within communities to refer to FGM (eg ‘cutting’), in formal discussion the correct naming, as the United Nations and, eg, members of the Inter-African Committee on FGM / HTPs,[74] emphasise, is ‘mutilation’.[75]

 

 

 

APPENDIX 2: Harmful traditional practices and related human rights abuse – a brief guide

 

 

 

See eg

 

Harmful traditional practices in diaspora communities (Evie Brown / GSDRC, 2014)[76]

 

Child Sexual Abuse in the African Family Context  (Afruca, June 2015)[77]

 

 

 

The range of HTPs is distressing and wide; and to these must also be added some practices which are also common in modern societies (such as male circumcision and the physical chastisement of children).

 

 

 

Harmful practices include

 

acid attacks

albino victimisation and sometimes killings (for ‘magic’ body parts)

beading (the practice of Morans – young warriors – laying claim to underage girls for sexual exploitation by buying beads and other ornaments for the victim) and

breast ‘ironing’

child sexual abuse

child / early marriage (arranged marriage under the age of legal consent – sexual intercourse in such relations constitutes statutory rape as the girls are not legally competent to agree to such unions) and forced marriage (CEFM), also bride kidnapping

denial of education

denial of family planning / contraception / safe sex

domestic violence

dowry-related violence

ebinyo (teeth-pulling; four times as prevalent in girls as boys)

emotional and psychological violence

female genital mutilation (FGM)

gang or wartime rape

‘honour’ stoning or killing

labia pulling (okukyalira ensiko)

leblouh or gavage (forced fattening)

male genital mutilation (‘male circumcision’) – sometimes also fatal or very dangerous

maltreatment of widows and wife/widow inheritance (when the widow is forced to marry eg her late husband’s brother)

physical punishment (including flogging)

polygamy

sexual assault

sexual harassment

stove burning

socio-economic violence

son preference and female feticide

‘spirit child’ allegations

trafficking of women and girls (for sex), and sometimes also boys and men

twin infant killing and live burial of infants

virginity ‘tests’

witchcraft allegations

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 3: Recommendations of the HMIC inspection of the police response to honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation

 

– pp.132-134 of the Report

 

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (December 2015) The depths of dishonour: hidden voices and shameful crimes [78]

 

 

 

To the Home Office

Recommendation 1

 

By March 2016, the Home Office should establish a national oversight framework to monitor and report on the progress made in relation to the findings and recommendations in this report.

 

 

 

Recommendation 2 

 

By June 2016, the Home Office, in conjunction with the National Police Chiefs’ Council, should develop an approach to the collection of data recorded by police forces in relation to HBV, FM and FGM. Consideration should be given to this data being recorded as part of the Annual Data Return.

 

 

 

Recommendation 3

 

By June 2016, the Home Office should initiate a review of the existing legislative framework for all forms of HBV, and consider whether new legislation should be enacted to cover:

 

the definition of HBV;

the specific criminalisation of all forms of HBV where existing offences do not adequately deal with the particular context of HBV crimes;

imposition of penalties appropriate to the gravity of such offences, taking account of their inherent aggravating features; and

provision for appropriate protection orders and a legislative scheme setting out the responsibilities in relation to those orders on relevant public services.

 

 

To the National Police Chiefs’ Council

Recommendation 4

 

By March 2016, the national policing lead should develop an action plan which addresses the findings and recommendations made within this report through the national oversight framework. The action plan should include reference to the ways in which forces will raise awareness, within local communities, of the role of the police service in preventing HBV, FM and FGM and protecting victims of HBV, FM and FGM.

 

 

 

Recommendation 5

 

By June 2016, the national policing lead, in conjunction with partner agencies in health, social care and education, should develop a national set of protocols for HBV, FM and FGM to ensure co-ordination and consistency of information sharing at all levels.

 

 

 

Recommendation 6

 

By June 2016, the national policing lead should, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service, develop an equivalent joint investigation and prosecution protocol for HBV and FM to that which exists for FGM.

 

 

 

Recommendation 7

 

By June 2016, the national policing lead, in conjunction with the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, should oversee the development of a national process to co-ordinate the collection and dissemination of all FMPOs and FGMPOs to police forces, together with other relevant court orders.

 

 

 

Recommendation 8

 

By December 2016, the national policing lead, in conjunction with the Home Office, should review whether data collected on police activity associated with HBV, FM and FGM is consistent and accurate. Where the national policing lead is not satisfied that the data is consistently and accurately collected, guidance should be issued to forces in order that a sound evidence basis is established to understand the national picture of related demand on the police service and assist forces in effective resource planning.

 

 

 

To chief constables

Recommendation 9

 

By June 2016, chief constables in consultation with partner agencies should undertake research and analysis using diverse sources to understand better the nature and scale of HBV, FM and FGM in their force areas, and use this information to raise awareness and understanding of HBV, FM and FGM on the parts of their police officers and staff.

 

 

 

Recommendation 10

 

By June 2016, chief constables should ensure that information management processes are in place to record and flag HBV, FM and FGM information in an efficient, effective and systematic way so that the risk to individual victims is identified at an early stage and properly assessed and managed throughout the progression of victim’s case.

 

 

 

Recommendation 11

 

By June 2016, chief constables together with partner agencies should ensure they have clear policies and joint working structures in place to ensure an integrated approach to HBV, FM and FGM between police forces and other agencies.

 

 

 

To the College of Policing

Recommendation 12

 

By March 2016, the College of Policing should produce Authorised Professional Practice guidance to provide current and up-to-date standards for the police service in relation to HBV and FM.

 

 

 

Recommendation 13

 

By June 2016, the College of Policing should review the current approach to risk assessment in relation to cases of HBV, FM and FGM. This should include an assessment of the sufficiency of instruments and methods currently available to assess risk in such cases.

 

 

 

Recommendation 14

 

By June 2016, the College of Policing should establish a process for the collation and dissemination of good practice (‘what works’) for the police service in relation to HBV, FM and FGM.

 

 

 

~ ~ ~

 

See also IKWRO January 2016 media release – HMG e-petition[79]

 

Five steps to strengthen multi-agency responses to ‘honour’-based violence (HBV)[80]

 

IKWRO five steps:

 

Police forces across the UK must take on board the criticisms in the HMIC report of December 2015 and develop effective responses to HBV;

Other services, including education, health, social services and housing, must develop reports on their own readiness to respond to HBV similar to that conducted by HMIC;

Increasing expertise and collaboration across all service providers;

Healthy relationships education in schools that includes HBV, FGM and forced marriage;

Secure funding of those NGOs which provide the greatest help to those at risk.

 

  • 23 July 2016

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