Former Somali government minister and activist for the abolition of female genital mutilation, Edna Adan Ismail stands with a few nominees for the European Parliament Sakharov Prize.
The Sakharov Prize, previously awarded to Congolese gynaechologist Denis Mukwege is awarded annually by the European to those that have took brave strides in implementing human’s rights to disadvantaged communities, in that making their change in the world.
The Sakharov committee nominated Ismail for her continuous efforts in decreasing the practice of genital mutilation in her home, Somaliland. Through opening her hospital Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital located in Hargesisa, Somaliland’s capital (funded primarily by her UN pension, along with a few of her personal assets), she has addressed some of the health problems that women and girls face in the horn of Africa, including female genital mutilation.
Since its establishment in 2002, the hospital deals with complications of FGM almost on a daily basis – with cases including children who have been mutilated days or even hours before being brought to the hospital. Some cases including children who are bleeding severely or can’t pass urine due to new stitches. According to their site, there has been a severe case where a child was so badly cut, there was virtually no skin to put together to stop the continuous gushing of blood. Other cases include newly married women who have suffered scarring, infection or post-natal complications from defects of FGM.
With these cases, Ismail has set goals for her hospital, including training and dispatching 1000 midwives throughout Somaliland and fighting more for the end of FGM practices in the country.
Edna Adan Ismail is among a few other brave revolutionists around the world; namely Raid Badawi, A Saudi Arabian blogger, writer and activist who created the website Free Saudi Liberals, the Democratic opposition in Venezuela, Boris Nemstov – an opposition leader and civil society activist in Russia who was assassinated in Russia in February this year, Nadiya Saychenko – former pilot of the Ukrainian Ground Forces who was captured by the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine in June last year along with Edward Snowden, Antoine Deltour and Stephanie Gibaud – three whistle blowers who revealed the inaccuracies in the unethical approaches taken by the firms they worked in, particularly the America mass surveillance programmes, the Luxleaks financial scandal and money laundering by the French and Swiss subsidiaries of UBS.
The Sakharov laureate will be decided by a political group of leaders and the Parliament’s President on October 29th this year – with an award ceremony taking place in Strasbourg, France December 16th.