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Sarah Dickson

Ambassador to Guatemala (June 2012 - June 2015)

Part of UK in Guatemala

22nd July 2014

Girl Summit

When Hugo Swire, the Minister for Latin America, was here recently he talked with a lot of people about children’s rights (read more about this here). It is such a global issue we can all share our experiences and expertise in order to make improvements to the ways we support children. That is why the Girl Summit in the UK on 22 July is such an important event. The summit will bring together governments, leading individuals and organisations to tackle issues of injustice and inequality. Culturally and historically, all over the world, it has been the norm to leave girl children behind and to treat them as second class. I am fortunate to be of a generation and of a nation where that fate did not befall me. The Girl summit will promote a charter to end female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage. In Guatemala some excellent organisations are promoting a change to the law –Initiative 4746 – to put boys and girls on an equal footing in terms of marriage age. I congratulate Congress for their engagement with this so far and urge them to do more to ensure its entry into force. As a mother of two daughters I can strongly say 14 years old is too young to be marrying. I hope you will all agree.

Like many people I find that when I see young people in truly difficult situations I feel motivated to do what I can to help. So I want to finish by paying tribute to the many NGOs working in Guatemala and Honduras that have some kind of link with the UK or with the British Embassy and do such incredible work for young people. Plan International, Save the Children, Education for the Children, Street Kids Direct, Casa Alianza, Casa del Alfarero, AMOR, World Vision, YMCA, I am sure I have forgotten someone. I also hope that one day we won’t need them anymore – Realistic? or am I being a bit John Lennon after Beatles Day at the weekend? Either way the Girl summit is a step in the right direction.

Show your support and join our call for an end to female genital mutilation and child and enforced marriage.

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