EU: The Barbarians Practice Female Genital Mutilation

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for the practice of female circumcision and genital mutilation to be made unlawful in all European Union countries through laws and administrative provisions, prevention systems, and education and social measures, and in particular, wide dissemination of information regarding the existing protection mechanisms available. The resolution also insisted that women and girls who are granted asylum in the EU because of the threat of female genital mutilation should have regular check-ups by health authorities and/or doctors as a preventive measure so as to protect them from any threat of mutilation being carried out subsequently in the EU.

MEP Claire Gibault of France, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) spokeswoman on the Women’s Committee, who was instrumental in steering through this resolution, said: “I am pleased that the European Parliament, by adopting this report, decided to give refugee status to women and young girls who risk genital mutilation in their home country. It is reasonable and responsible to study this on a case by case basis even if there is only a slight glimmer of evidence.

It is essential to remain vigilant because unfortunately the granting of refugee status cannot be automatic insofar as it does not always guarantee that the women and girls escape female circumcision, which is sometimes carried out after the family has settled in a European country.” She added, “This is a very important step in the struggle against female circumcision. We must continue to mobilise and follow-up side-by-side with activists in order to increase public awareness even more and to legislate in a more drastic way in order to prohibit these practices in Europe.” She was supported by Jim Higgins of Ireland who said the resolution should help prevent the ongoing practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the EU.

The report highlights that significant numbers of young women in the EU are being subjected to FGM and that problem has now spread from traditional areas of FGM practice in Africa. Speaking following the adoption of the report, he said, “This is an abhorrent practice, and cannot be justified for any reason. There has been a growing realisation of the problem and the fact that far from dying out it is actually spreading to other parts of the world including the EU.

“This report highlights the needs for Governments to pass legislation aimed at dealing with FGM as a matter of urgency. Young children are being subjected to horrific procedures and these children need to be protected. The people who carry out these heinous procedures must be locked up.”

The report states that across the globe three million young girls are in danger of being subjected to FGM annually with an estimated 180,000 of these in the EU. The EU also estimates that 500,000 women living in the EU have been the victim of FGM. Higgins said there would need to be a substantial increase in funding from the EU if it was to make good on its aim of eradicating the procedure.

SOURCE: New Europe

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DATE: 28/04/2009

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