NORWAY: Renewed Uproar Over Female Circumcision

Labour Party politician Anniken Huitfeldt wants girls from Somalia and other at-risk nations to undergo regular physical checks.

Huitfeldt told newspaper VG that she proposes that every family that comes from Somalia and other at-risk countries must sign a document saying that the circumcision of family members must not happen.

Huitfeldt wants the legal framework for such a contract, and penal reactions.

Bashe Musse of the Somalian Network also urged stricter regulations against the practice, and called for a fatwa against female genital mutilation (FGM).

Huitfeldt's proposition departs radically from the current parliamentary majority support for a regular check of all Norwegian girls to prevent circumcision.

Huitfeldt feels this is impractical and wants targeted checks, even though she is aware that such a proposal can have a stigmatizing affect on certain groups.

"That is a counter-argument. But it isn't good enough. We are talking about measures against genital mutilation," Huitfeldt said.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told newspaper Dagsavisen he felt a personal responsibility for the mutilated girls, and added that he was not satisfied with the efforts of police, child care and prosecution authorities.

Despite extra funding for efforts to hinder violence towards women and children, and laws against circumcision in place for 11 years, not one person has been charged with or convicted of genital mutilation.

Stoltenberg warned that the government would now step up its efforts. This week the Ministry of Justice and Police would hold an urgent meeting with the Attorney-General, Oslo police and the director of police.

"Circumcising children is totally unacceptable. It is doubly criminal. It is a violation of Norwegian law and it is a violation of basic human rights," Stoltenberg told Dagsavisen.

SOURCE: Aftenposten

AUTHOR: Randi Johannessen

URL: Click here

DATE: 28/06.2007

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