EU: More stringent measures against FGM

Friday, October 13, 2017

The European Union (EU) has never before declared stringent regulations and measures within individual member states to battle harder, in order to eradicate the harmful practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Thus, more countries within the EU are now more forceful in not only raising awareness of the problems, caused by FGM, but also enforcing legislation to seriously deal with the issue.

In the UK, Germany, France and Spain, politicians, celebrities and other academics are campaigning hard for its total eradication.

Consequently, powerful FGM committees and groups have been launched to ‘’add to the momentum.’’

Currently, the Germans fear that thousands of girls are likely to undergo FGM in the country, in addition to ‘’several thousands of women,’’ who have suffered from the illegal act.

A recent government report conducted by the Family Affair Minister also found that nearly 50,000 girls currently living in Germany had undergone the practice of FGM.

This is an increased in numbers, as compared to the previous figures gathered, prompting the government to be ‘’more vocal, as well as politically-willing’’ to continue the campaign against it and to further pursue it in the courts.

Also in the UK, an All-Party Parliamentary Group on FGM involving well-known political figures that was officially setup has to be relaunched and reinforced.

The Group is co-chaired by respected Labour MP Jess Phillips and Zac Goldsmith of the Tory Party. It is ‘’expected to behave more like a Select Committee.’’

Jess, who is adamant in making sure that the practice is eliminated ‘’sooner rather than later’’, has been constantly arguing that more needed to be done.

Zac, a popular million in the Tory Party also gave speeches and statements, and recently said: ‘’There is no dispute that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with once and for all... It’s an appalling issue to think about.’’

Furthermore, FGM was defined as a crime under French law. Since around 1983, the French introduced a law with a threat of imprisonment of 10 years. ‘’Cutting a girl’’ under the age of 15 can get up to 20 years in jail.

Furthermore, parents or guardians who are ‘’part of the crime or accomplice,’’ by sending their daughters out of the country for that purpose will not be spared.

The Point has also learnt that currently the EU, in collaboration with five member states, including the UK, France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden will not only continue to investigate cases, but also ‘’the judicial outcome’’ of similar cases in various countries.

Already there are booklets, edited and published across many EU countries, declaring FGM illegal.

This correspondent read one of such booklets further asking and recommending that people should report any suspicion regarding young girls forced to do so. The danger and medical implication has also been noted.

However, some politicians, activists and advocates are also arguing that even though there are laws banning the practice, prosecutions are rare, due to various factors. It includes cultural sensitivities and the fact that ‘’FGM is usually done in most secretive circumstances.’’

However, the EU has publicly announced that now the issue of FGM will be ‘’very high on the political agenda.’’ 

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent

Author: Alhagie Mbye