Our member Pharos has undertaken a research about the existende of FGM in Siria, 'Female genital mutilation in Syria? An inquiry into the existence of FGM in Syria'.
Syria is not listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a country in which FGM has been documented as a traditional practice. With a growing number of Syrian nationals seeking asylum in the Netherlands, the question arose whether or not FGM is prevalent in (parts of) Syria. This was also due to a message spread by the UN that ISIS was ordering FGM on women living in the so-called caliphate. The intended outcome for this study was to explore the possible existence of FGM in the Syrian context.
The research activities did not lead to substantiated information that FGM is a traditional practice in Syria. In addition, no data on prevalence is available. This however does not mean that FGM does not exist in Syria. While in the scientific literature no textual evidence was found, grey sources do mention its existence in Syria. Specific links between ethnicity (Kurdish), law school (Shafi’i) and FGM were too precarious to draw any conclusions for the Syrian context. Furthermore, no evidence was found with regards to the rumor of ISIS ordering FGM on women in ISIS controlled area. This does not mean however that we should not take this threat seriously. The research activities with the Dutch healthcare professionals, the Dutch youth healthcare agency, the Asylum Reception Centre and among Syrian key-informants do not provide a substantiated indication that Syrian women and girls in the Netherlands are circumcised or are at risk of being circumcised.