Bamako, Mali – During an AWEPA organised meeting against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (CIPA) an important step was made with the election of a regional Conseil who elected subsequently the Bureau of the network. The Comité International des Parlementaires pour l’Abandon des mutilations génitales féminines/excision (CIPA MGF/E) met in Hotel Onomo in Bamako on 8 and 9 May 2017.
The meeting brought together more than 20 participants. Attendees included Members of the Parliaments of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, and a Member of the Belgian Parliament who is also the Political Coordinator of AWEPA’s FGM/C programme. From Mali, two Vice-Presidents attended the meeting, as well as Members of the Réseau des parlementaires maliens contre les violences faites aux femmes, including its Chair Hon. Fatimata Niambali. In addition, representatives of the Ministère de la Promotion de la Femme, de l’Enfant et de la Famille (MPFEF), the National Programme for Combating Excision (PNLE), UNICEF, NGOs like Tostan and Sini Sanuman and AWEPA staff attended the Conference.
In the opening session, representatives from the MPFEF and AWEPA addressed the participants, followed by remarks by Hon. Moussa Timbine, First Vice-President of the Parliament of Mali, who officially opened the meeting.
After the opening session, representatives of the PNLE, UNICEF, Sini Sanusman and Tostan gave extensive and interesting interventions about the situation of FGM/C in Mali and the work their organisation is doing in this field. Hon. Fatimata Niambali concluded this session by informing what her network has done with regard to FGM/C since the sub-regional Conference on FGM/C organized by AWEPA in Saly, Senegal in May 2016.
These presentations on Mali were followed by a presentation from the MPs from the other seven countries about the situation of FGM/C in their countries and the parliamentary actions on the abandonment of FGM/C taken since May 2016. Hon. Els Van Hoof spoke about the role of AWEPA with regard to the abandonment of FGM/C and the existing anti-FGM/C laws and actions implemented towards abandonment on FGM/C in Belgium since last year May. Besides, she spoke about the Convention of Istanbul (Council of Europe). This Convention on Violence against women is known for the “4Ps approach”: Prevention; Protection; Prosecution and integrated Policies.
The afternoon of the first day and the morning of the second day of the meeting were focused on the discussion of the statutes of the CIPA MGF/E. These statutes were discussed article by article and adjusted if needed. The Vice-President of the Parliament of Mali was present during the signing ceremony of the statutes by the MP from each country represented in the regional parliamentary network. The first task of the network was to make an action plan, which was discussed and approved on and which serves as a first start. The meeting concluded with the election of the Conseil who elected subsequently the Bureau of the network.
The meeting was closed by the newly elected President of the Comité International des Parlementaires pour l’Abandon des MGF/E, Hon. Fatimata Niambali, MP from Mali.
This activity is part of AWEPA’s FGM/C programme, financed by the Government of Luxembourg (2016-2018) which is implemented in Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, and includes a regional component as well. The establishment of the regional parliamentary network (CIPA MGF/E) is a result of the sub-regional parliamentary Conference on FGM/C organized by AWEPA in Saly, Senegal in May/June 2016.