There are no health benefits. On the contrary it has serious consequences on female health and well-being, yet female genital mutilation (FGM) continues to be widespread. Worldwide there are some 140 million victims and in the EU alone 500,000 live with the consequences of this cruel practice.
The United Nations designated 6 February as International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation to raise awareness of the problem. The European Parliament, which has long been committed to tackling violence against women, will discuss what measures should be taken to end FGM and support victims during a debate in plenary on Tuesday 10 February.
FGM is mostly practised in Africa and the Middle East, but is also carried out illegally in a number of EU countries. Every year 20,000 women and girls from countries where FGM is common seek asylum in the EU. The mutilation, of girls, from infants to 15-year-olds, can lead to severe bleeding and health issues, including infections, infertility and a higher risk of newborn deaths. Unless something changes, another 86 million girls will be mutilated by 2030.
The EP has long fought against all forms of violence against women, including FGM. MEPs have adopted several resolutions, the latest in 2014, calling on the European Commission and member states to do more to end this human rights violation.
On 10 February MEPs will discuss with Commission representatives what measures are needed, such as funding for support services, protection of asylum seekers and the prevention of violence against women and girls in general.
Thank you to Newtown Graffiti for releasing the photo under a Creative Commons licence.