Anti-FGM Campaigner Fatou Baldeh To Receive 2024 Women’s Rights Award

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Press Release: Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy

GENEVA, May 7, 2024

A cross-regional coalition of 25 human rights organizations announced today that Gambian women’s rights activist Fatou Baldeh will be honored with the Geneva Summit Women’s Rights Award. She campaigns to end female genital mutilation, a practice that she survived and now dedicates herself to ending.

Baldeh will receive the prestigious prize on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, at the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. The ceremony will be attended by UN ambassadors, former political prisoners, human rights activists, and journalists from around the world.

Baldeh was chosen for her extraordinary leadership and courage in fighting for the human dignity of women and girls in The Gambia,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of United Nations Watch, a co-organizer of the conference together with Human Rights Foundation, Cultura Democratica, the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and more than 20 other human rights groups.

“An estimated 230 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilations. FGM injures girls’ bodies, perpetuates life-long physical and psychological harm, and endangers their lives,” said Neuer.

“That is why we need to recognize and strengthen the vital work of Fatou Baldeh, who has directly impacted policy decisions and actions to uphold the dignity and human rights of African women and girls, speaking out for the most marginalized in society. Through her organization, Women in Liberation and Leadership, Ms. Baldeh persistently combats female genital mutilation—in a country where 75% of women have been its victims—making her an inspiring role model for women and girls around the world,” said Neuer.