THE GOVERNMENT HAS been criticised for its failure to support EU efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM) during its presidency.
In a review published by Amnesty International today, the organisation said the government’s “confused and inadequate approach” to action on the issue, which affects an estimated 180,000 women in Europe, was a “missed opportunity”.
“During the first few months of the presidency it wasn’t clear whether anyone in the government knew which department was responsible for working in the area as anti-FGM activists were passed from minister to minister,” Colm O’Gorman, Ececutive Director of Amnesty said.
“There was no sign of support from the presidency for efforts by the EU Commission to prioritise the issue.”
O’Gorman said that the presidency has a chance to “jumpstart” action on the issue but still, three years after the EU promised to create a strategy to combat violence against women, “nothing has happened”.
LGBTI persons and Roma rights
Though Amnesty expressed strong criticism in relation to FGM in its review, it also pointed out some “big wins” for human rights during the presidency. It said the presidency played a positive role in ensuring a robust international Arms Trade Treaty was agreed at the start of April.
“The statement from the presidency on International Roma Day was a welcome demonstration of political support for Roma rights and there were strong new guidelines published on human rights for LGBTI persons,” O’Gorman added.
Efforts by the presidency to keep negotiation of the Anti-Discrimination Directive alive in the Council and its push for further EU action to counter hate crime, racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia were also recognised.