EP: Ban Female Genital Mutilation on EU territory

Refugee status may be given to those who risk Female Genital Mutilation 25th March 2009: The European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling for the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to be made illegal in all Member States.

MEPs also want EU directives on immigration to treat the act of committing FGM as an offence and lay down appropriate penalties for those guilty of it.

They want clear 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 insists that women and girls who are granted asylum in the EU because of the threat of FGM 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, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) Spokesperson 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.

"This is a very important step in the struggle against female circumcision. We must continue to mobilize 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"

The report drafted by MEP Cristiana Muscardini shows that every year approximately 180 000 female emigrants in Europe undergo, or are in danger of undergoing FGM.

Although female genital mutilation (FGM) is a violation of women’s rights under various international conventions and is prohibited under the criminal law of the Member States, it is difficult to monitor on EU territory as it is carried out clandestinely.

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