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"The pain inflicted by FGM does not stop with the initial procedure, but often continues as ongoing torture throughout a woman’s life" - Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
FGM violates the right to freedom from violence, the right to physical and mental health and to physical integrity.
A girl or woman seeking asylum because she has been compelled to undergo, or is likely to be subjected to FGM, can qualify for refugee status. (UN High Commission for Refugees)
FGM constitutes a persecution qualifying for being granted refugee status in the European Union - 2004 Council Directive and Geneva Conventions
European Parliament estimates 500,000 girls and women living in Europe are suffering with the lifelong consequences of FGM.
FGM denies the right to equality between women and men and constitutes discrimination on the grounds of gender, age and ethnicity.
"For myself it is very painful when I get my period. I can’t go to school. I can’t do anything. I have to stay three or four days at home. All girls who have been through this are the same as me." -21 year old Somali girl living in Ireland.
Sweden was the first country in Europe to legislate against the practice of female genital mutilation.
"No one may invoke cultural diversity as an excuse to infringe on human rights guaranteed by international law... nor should cultural diversity be taken to support segregation and harmful traditional practices which, in the name of culture, seek to sanctify differences that run counter to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights." - UN Special Rapporteurs, World Day for Cultural Diversity, 21 May 2010
Female genital mutilation comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. (World Health Organisation)
Three million girls and women are subjected to female genital mutilation worldwide each year. That's 8000 girls per day. Where does Europe stand? Read our latest publication
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a harmful practice that is recognised worldwide as a human rights vilation. The practice of FGM violates:
FGM has been documented in certain parts of Africa, Asia and Middle East. It is now encountered in Europe as well. Most often, girls and women are taken to their countries of origin during school holidays where they are confronted with the pressure to be cut.
The European Parliament estimates 500,000 girls and women living in Europe are suffering with the lifelong consequences of female genital mutilation. The EU has the power to act. Amnesty International launched the END FGM European Campaign to ensure that the EU acts now to end this practice and protect women and girls. Find out our objectives here.