European & International News

REPLACE FGM project reaching its final stage

[Brussels, 23 June 2011] REPLACE FGM, an EU funded Daphne III project, has organised its final conference in Brussels to mark the closing stage of the project. Launched in April 2010, the initiative aimed to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice that involves the partial or total removal or alteration of the external female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is a form of violence against women and a violation of the human rights’ principles, as stipulated in Article 24.3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) [1]. Pierrette Pape, Policy Officer & Project Coordinator at the European Women’s Lobby, participated in the conference at a roundtable with other representatives from NGOs, community organisations, policy-makers, politicians and researchers from the Coventry University team.

Liz Lynne MEP, Vice Chair of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, draw attention to the fact that the European Parliament has voted a non-legislative resolution on combating FGM, which roundly condemns FGM as a violation of fundamental human rights in 2009.

The main conclusion of the conference and the discussion among stakeholders is that prevention through behavioural and attitudinal change should become the focus of work towards ending FGM, which threatens about 2 million women and girls worldwide.
At the conference, REPLACE FGM launched a Toolkit to introduce this innovative approach to key stakeholders. Traditional approaches try to eliminate FGM while focusing primarily on raising awareness of the health, legal and human rights issues associated with the practice and then expecting individuals to change their behaviour concerning FGM.

REPLACE FGM also delivered policy recommendations which specify a series of steps or stages which could enable changes in behaviour to become sustainable and thus change community norms. By changing attitudes more positive and long-term results can be expected. In addition, REPLACE FGM recalls that an adequate legal framework will be needed, such as the Council of Europe Convention on combating and preventing violence against women and domestic violence, which includes a provision criminalising FGM.

[1Source: Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices

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