Should states be held responsible to eradicate FGM?


An event to mark the International Day of the African Child

Sponsored by
the Legal Vice Presidency and the GFLJD FGM/C Legal Working Group
with the support of the Equality Now and
the National Committee against Harmful Practices of Guinea-Bissau (CNAPN)


Should States be held responsible to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM)? States have the general responsibility to protect citizens against abusive behaviors and violence. FGM is an extreme form of gender-based violence and is at the confluence of domestic violence, sexual assault  and child abuse. States can be held responsible and liable for their lack of adequate action in relation to the international or regional obligations they have accepted to protect women and girls in their territory (or outside their territory) against FGM. This BBL explores how states can be held responsible for their lack of national legislation to prevent and prosecute FGM (for instance in the case of Mali who will respond before the ECOWAS Court of Justice for the lack of anti-FGM law) or for not complying fully with the existing legislation (for instance in the case of Guinea-Bissau, where despite important efforts to adopt and apply the anti-FGM law, the state has not budgeted resources for FGM and has not taken the necessary steps for systematically prosecuting cases of FGM).


12:00 Welcoming Words and Presentations

  • Sandie Okoro
    Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel
    World Bank

  • Isabella Micali Drossos
    Senior Counsel
    World Bank

12:10 Panel discussion on State Responsibility and FGM Eradication followed by Q&A

Sandie Okoro

Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank

A British national and the first black woman to hold this role, Sandie is the principal advisor and spokesperson on all legal matters for the world’s leading development finance institution. She also heads the Compliance Vice Presidency that is responsible for developing and overseeing the World Bank data privacy framework based on the World Bank Group Policy on Personal Data Privacy.  Read more

Isabella Micali Drossos

Senior Counsel
Legal Vice Presidency
World Bank

Isabella Micali Drossos is a French and Brazilian lawyer. She joined the Bank in 1999 and has worked since then as an operational lawyer in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Region. She has a passion for issues related to gender-based violence (in particular Female Genital Mutilation and Domestic Violence) and collective happiness and well-being in development. She holds degrees in law and in economics from the University of Paris, an LLM from the London School of Economics and a PhD in international public law from the University Pantheon-Sorbonne.

Caroline Lagat

Programme Officer, Equality Now

Caroline Lagat is a lawyer, a human rights advocate and a Programme Officer at Equality Now, leading its End Harmful Practices Programme in Africa. Through her work, she has experience in advocacy before the African human rights mechanisms and courts. She was part of the team that prepared the case filed against the Government of Mali before the ECOWAS Court of Justice. Previously, she worked for the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, OXFAM GB, and FIDA Kenya.

Fatumata Djau Baldé

President of the CNAPN, Guinea-Bissau

Fatumata graduated in Accounting and holds a master in Law from the Atlantic International University. She is a human rights’ activist dedicated to the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She is the chairman of the National Committee for the Abandonment of Traditional Practices (CNAPN) in Guinea-Bissau. She is also a member of the executive board of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). She was the president of the institute of women and children between 2000-2001 and was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communities, Tourism, Social Solidarity, Public Administration and State Modernization.

Paul Komba

International Human Rights Lawyer (Barrister), Middle Temple, London, UK

Dr. Paul Komba is currently an international Human Rights lawyer (Barrister) with the Middle Temple, London, UK and a Senior Research Fellow in Law at Northumbria University (UK) where he works  on data-driven approaches to gender-based  human rights issues including FGM. He previously worked as a Law Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, the Law Faculty (Johannesburg) and the Cambridge Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL) and the Cambridge Centre for African Studies (CCAS).  Dr Komba spent years on the legal institutional support for preventing violence against girls and women. He has since published a book entitled ‘Female Genital Mutilation Around the World: Medical Aspects, Law and Practice’ (Springer 2018). He has also authored a book chapter ‘The State of Data and Statistics in sub- Saharan Africa in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals’, in Anne Thurston (ed), A Matter of Trust: Building Integrity into Data, Statistics and Records in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals (The University of Chicago Press, 2020). Dr Komba has also published numerous peer-reviewed articles in practitioner and specialised academic journals. He has since 2010 been member of the FGM International Network, where he continues to share his professional experience how to use the law to promote gender equality and eradicate FGM. He is also a reviewer of the celebrated World Bank’s Compendium of International and National Legal frameworks on FGM.

Edith Mwenda

Senior Counsel, World Bank

Edith Ruguru Mwenda is a Senior Counsel at the World Bank, she joined the World Bank in 2001 and has worked as an operational lawyer in Africa and in the Caribbean. She has been for many years the Gender Advisor for the Legal Department and the Gender Group at the World Bank and has a passion for Gender Based Violence related issues, including GBV and development, codes of conduct to prevent GBV as well as the operationalization of GBV issues in World Bank operations. 

Edith holds a LMB from the university of Nairobi, a LMM in Banking and finance from the University of London (Queen Mary College) and a LMM in International Environmental Law from the George Washington University. She is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.


Event Type: Webinar

Date: Wednesday September 8, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

Venue/Location: Virtual

Working Group: FGM