Group calls for ban on female genital mutilation

 

The development group, Comhlámh, has called on the Government to introduce legislation banning female genital mutilation.

The practice, which takes place in many African and Asian cultures, affects millions of women. Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the removal of any or all of the external female genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons. The practice, which is irreversible, causes serious physical and emotional pain.

Comhlámh launched an educational booklet on FGM today, entitled Understanding Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

According to Ms Morina O’Neill of Comhlámh, the booklet is designed to educate people about the issue, also known as female circumcision, which she claims affects about 130 million women around the world.

"We will be calling on the Government to introduce legislation against the practice in Ireland as it doesn’t currently exist," she said.

Comhlámh hopes that this will prevent the practice taking place here. Ms O’Neill claims that there is anecdotal evidence that FGM has been carried out in the State. There are also many women living here who have undergone the practice in other countries.

The booklet was launched by Ms Mary Banotti MEP, who welcomed it as a very important step in creating awareness of the issue. She said it was particularly important that the issue of genital mutilation was dealt with in a "culturally appropriate" manner and that it is not just women but their husbands, partners and extended families who must fight the practice.