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'Consequences of this huge physical intrusion on women are so enormous': MEPs back resolution to end FGM

It comes after a couple were found guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal court last month of carrying out FGM on their young daughter.

Image: Shutterstock/Ms Jane Campbell

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has approved a new resolution calling for an EU strategy to end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and to provide care for survivors. 

The resolution, adopted by 612 votes in favour and seven against, calls on EU member states to encourage third countries to ban FGM and to deport convicted perpetrators. 

It comes after a couple were found guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal court last month of carrying out FGM on their 21-month-old daughter. The case was the first of its kind in Ireland. 

FGM, which refers to the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia, has been outlawed in Ireland since 2012. It is a cultural practice which has no medical benefits and can result in lifelong physical and psychological issues.

According to the World Health Organisation, at least 200 million women and girls around the world are currently living with the harmful consequences of FGM.

It is estimated that at least 500,000 women living in the EU have been subjected to FGM and that a further 180,000 girls and women are at risk of undergoing it.

TheJournal.ie has been covering FGM in Ireland and abroad in recent years. It is estimated that about 6,000 females living here have undergone the procedure and many others are deemed to be at risk of being subjected to it. 

The resolution calling for an EU wide strategy to end the practice around the world, calls on member states to enforce mandatory reporting of FGM, to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards FGM by tightening criminal laws and by systematically detecting, investigating and prosecuting cases of FGM, and to deport convicted perpetrators of FGM. 

MEPs also want the European Commission to make FGM and other violent practices against girls and women a central issue in its human rights dialogues with the third countries concerned, and for the European External Action Service and member states to intensify talks with third countries to encourage them to adopt national laws banning FGM.

Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald told EuroParl radio that zero tolerance is needed on the issue due to the “enormous” consequences it has for women. 

“It’s incredibly widespread and we have to have a zero tolerance in relation to it. We have to take a whole variety of actions to put an end to it because physically, sexually, psychologically, the consequences of this huge physical intrusion on women are so enormous.” 

- With reporting from Órla Ryan 

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