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Freida Pinto to speak up for girls at UK summit

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Actress Freida Pinto is all set to deliver a speech on rights and issues concerning girls and women, at the world's first-ever summit for girls in London tomorrow.

The summit, jointly organised by the government of United Kingdom and Unicef, is aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) within this generation.

Freida will deliver the closing speech along with the Deputy Prime Minister of UK.

"Girls and women have the right to live free from violence and discrimination and achieve their potential, but some are being prevented from doing so by harmful practices such as FGM and CEFM, which are illegal in the UK. Girls affected by child marriage and FGM are among the most vulnerable in the world," Freida said in a statement here.

Freida said that she looks forward to discussing how ending child marriage and FGM can preserve a girl's childhood, promote her education, and reduce her exposure to violence and abuse, thus allowing her to make choices about her own future and fulfill her potential in life.

"More than 125 million girls and women alive today have suffered some form of FGM in the 29 countries where the practice is concentrated. UNICEF estimates that globally, around one in three young women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18. Around 23 million girls entered into marriage before they reached 15," the 26-year-old actress said.

Freida said that she was concerned about the incidents of FGM and CEFM in India as well.

"It maybe a small community of people that practise it but no matter how small the number is its a violation of human rights and those girls are significant and important to us.

"We are aware that child marriage is a common practise in some communities but we also need to be aware of the full extent of its damage caused to these young lives physical and psychological," Freida said.

Other speakers at the summit include key voices and policy-makers like Theresa May, UK Home Minister, Justine Greening, UK Development Minister, Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh among many others.

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First Published: Mon, July 21 2014. 19:35 IST
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