The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention is the first treaty to recognise that female genital mutilation (FGM) exists in Europe. It incorporates existing international human rights law, standards and promising practices to address violence against women.

FGM is a threat to girls and women around the globe, including in Europe – a fact that has remained unacknowledged for too long. Governments and citizens must take a stand against it. An effective support structure, particularly providing appropriate health services, must be available to respond to the needs of survivors and those at risk.

The comprehensive nature of the convention makes it a practical tool to address FGM. To women and girls already affected by FGM, it sends the message that their stories are being heard. To those at risk, it is a beacon of hope.

The convention must become part of the law and practice of all states in Europe. The End FGM European Network therefore supports the ICchange campaign in calling on the UK to ratify and implement the Istanbul convention. The physical, psychological and emotional integrity of women and girls deserve to be protected.