Case study: a brighter tomorrow

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a serious human rights abuse that occurs all over the world, and can cause permanent physical and psychological damage to its victims. Sadly, it is underreported and often not prosecuted.

Equality Now, an organisation which partners with groups around the world to hold governments to account, turned to Advocates for International Development (A4ID) to seek a pro bono legal counsel team to assist with prosecutions and litigations to eradicate FGM in Australia, Kenya, India and the US.

The team, made up of A4ID’s Legal Partner, Three Crowns, Ms. Schona Jolly QC of Cloisters and Ms. Lucy Martinez of Martinez Arbitration, stepped up to help. Unfortunately, the Kenyan and US cases (the latter of which was the first US federal criminal trial under the US federal FGM ban) were unsuccessful, but with the legal team’s help, Equality Now has successfully developed a range of research and legal arguments to reinforce legal protection for girls at risk of FGM. They continue to lobby for the strengthening of anti-FGM law in the US across each state.

The cases in Australia and India are ongoing, and Equality Now is actively monitoring the cases for opportunities to constructively engage. Their work with the legal counsel team in promoting the implementation of legal bans on FGM across the world is doing crucial work in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, encouraging good health and well-being, gender equality and peace, justice and strong institutions.

They hope that one day their fight will result in a worldwide FGM ban and therefore a brighter tomorrow for girls across the globe.