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MALTA: Coleiro proposes ban on genital mutilation

Labour MP Marie Louise Coleiro is calling on the government to outlaw the practice of female genital mutilation in Malta, in a bid to protect migrant women who could be subjected to the brutal practice.

In its most severe forms genital mutilation involves cutting the woman’s sexual organs and can even lead to death.
Various European countries like France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have outlawed this practice imported by migrants from sub-Saharan African countries, where female circumcision is widely practised.

“We need to protect the rights of migrant women by introducing a legal mechanism to prosecute anyone practising this brutal practice,” Coleiro told MaltaToday.

A large percentage of migrants living from Malta hail from countries like war torn Somalia where female circumcision is widely practised. But persons working with immigrants who spoke with MaltaToday said they have not encountered any case of genital mutilation practised in Malta. This can be attributed to the fact that very few young girls actually reach Malta, where males predominate among the immigrant population.

Coleiro is not aware of any specific case of genital mutilation, but she says she would like the Maltese authorities take a precautionary approach to the problem. “We should ensure we have the legislation in place before confronting this problem.”

Coleiro has already raised this issue in parliament by asking health minister Louis Deguara whether the government intends to follow other European countries in banning this practice. Deguara simply replied telling Coleiro to ask her question to the appropriate minister probably with reference to the justice and home affairs minister.

SOURCE: Malta Today

URL: http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2006/11/19/t8.html


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