REPLACE 1 conference
Timed to coincide with the publication of the European Victim’s Package, the REPLACE 1 final conference aimed to bring together a rich mix of Non-Governmental Orgiansations (NGOs), community organisations, policy-makers, politicians, researchers and other relevant stakeholders.
We were delighted to receive a statement from Liz Lynne MEP, 1st Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament who congratulated the project partners for our "amazing hard work to help make this project a reality" and spoke of REPLACE as a "testament of how we can utilise EU money to make a real difference to people's lives".
Liz Lynne MEP reminded us that in April 2009, 647 MEPs voted in favour of a European Parliament non-legislative resolution on combating FGM, which roundly condemns FGM as a violation of fundamental human rights. We would like to thank all MEPs for working to keep the issue a political priority and raise awareness.
Our keynote speaker Mrs Ingrid Bellander-Todino, Policy Officer, Victims' Rights / Violence against Women, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice, explained that Daphne has funded a number of projects on FGM since its start in 1997, but that what has been found – and is confirmed by the REPLACE 1 project, is how important prevention work through behavioural and attitudinal change is to work towards ending FGM. Indeed, prevention work is crucial not only for reducing the practice in the short and medium term, but also for changing attitudes towards FGM that can give positive, long-term and lasting results.
The conference Roundtable speakers included: Pierrette Pape, Policy Officer & Project Coordinator at the European Women’s Lobby, Dr. Christine Loudes, Campaign Director for the END FGM Campaign Amnesty International and Sarah Watts, Social Attaché to the UK Permanent Representation to the EU who offered valuable advice on the status-quo on ending FGM in Europe and the battle to make FGM a priority across the Member States.
The event will also be remembered for the exciting and stimulating discussion amongst all the participants who debated and discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead for ending FGM in Europe. We would like to thank everyone for their valuable time in attending the event.