Ex-supermodel Waris Dirie says FGM can end in her lifetime

Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:44pm EST
 
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By Emma Batha

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Supermodel turned campaigner against female genital mutilation Waris Dirie said on Thursday she was optimistic that FGM could be eradicated in her lifetime, branding the tradition "a cruel and perfidious war on little girls."

"FGM breaches all human rights and has no place in any 21st century society," said Dirie, who underwent FGM in Somalia when she was 5 years old and whose sister bled to death after being cut.

An estimated 140 million women and girls worldwide have undergone FGM which involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia. In its most extreme form the vaginal opening is also sewn closed.

Dirie said her Desert Flower Foundation aimed to save 1 million girls across Africa from the "barbaric" ritual in the next few years through a sponsorship project which provides food, kerosene and school fees to families who pledge not to cut their daughters.   Continued...

 
Human rights activist and top model Waris Dirie from Somalia attends a news conference during the 4th World Meeting of Human Values and Culture of Lawfulness at the Banamex auditorium in Monterrey October 26, 2012.  REUTERS/Daniel Becerril