European & International News

Parliament urges Member States to act against female genital mutilation

[Brussels, 15 June 2012] Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have unanimously adopted a Resolution calling on the Member States to take action to combat the continued widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), which they acknowledge to be an act of violence against women and girls and a violation of their human rights.

The EWL lobbies for the implementation of international commitments to end FGM. On the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, the EWL and Amnesty International’s END FGM Campaign issued a joint Press Release challenging the European Union to lay out its vision and commitment for ending female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women Does the EU have zero vision on ending female genital mutilation? 03 February 2012

The Parliament’s Resolution is not legally binding but carries political weight.

Speaking at the plenary in Strasbourg on 14 June, Romanian ALDE MEP Norica Nicolai said, "Unfortunately in the 21st century we still have this practice, this barbaric practice, this violent practice against women."

Slovakian EPP deputy Anna Záborská told MEPs, "The World Health Organisation estimated that in the European Union there are half a million women and girls who have been through female genital mutilation."

This is a figure which the resolution itself considers to be an underestimation as it fails to take second generation and unaccounted migrants into consideration.

European health and consumer commissioner John Dalli said that there would be a report on female genital mutilation later in the year.

He said, "Genital mutilation can under no circumstances be justified by cultural or religious traditions or practices," adding that the commission is "taking measures in the criminal justice area".

Marina Yannakoudakis, British ECR MEP, said, "I am glad we are having this debate. Female genital mutilation is being carried out on women here in Europe.

"All member states must take some action to combat this vulgar practice."

Jean Lambert, UK greens deputy, also welcomed the appeal saying, "Female genital mutilation is an act of physical, psychological and emotional abuse that affects hundreds of thousands of women and girls each and every day; women who are often forced to suffer in silence through fear and shame.

"We must be clear - FGM is a form of gender based violence and an expression of unequal power relations."

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