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End female genital mutilation: Is Europe watching?

In Europe, 500,000 women and girls are living with FGM and another 180,000 girls are at risk each year. On this International day of zero tolerance, a video has been created to celebrate the 42,000 signatures of support demanding our leaders to take action!
Watch the video!
Amnesty International Ireland
rue de Trèves, 35   Tel: +32 548 2774
Boîte 3 B-1040 Brussels

Facts and Figures

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    European Parliament estimates 500,000 girls and women living in Europe are suffering with the lifelong consequences of FGM.

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    Sweden was the first country in Europe to legislate against the practice of female genital mutilation.

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    FGM violates the right to freedom from violence, the right to physical and mental health and to physical integrity.

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    "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.

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    "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

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    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)

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    FGM constitutes a persecution qualifying for being granted refugee status in the European Union - 2004 Council Directive and Geneva Conventions

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    FGM denies the right to equality between women and men and constitutes discrimination on the grounds of gender, age and ethnicity.

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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

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    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)




Three million girls and women are subjected to female genital mutilation worldwide each year. That's 8000 girls per day.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of violence against women and children that can amount to torture.

The practice violates:

  • Right to physical and mental integrity
  • Right to highest attainable standard of health
  • Right to be free from all forms of discrimination against women (including violence against women)
  • Right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Rights of the child, and
  • in extreme cases, right to life

Female genital mutilation has been documented in certain parts of Africa, Asia and Middle East, and it is now being encountered in Europe as well. Most often, girls and women are taken to their countries of origin during school holidays to be mutilated.

The European Parliament estimates 500,000 girls and women living in Europe are suffering with the lifelong consequences of female genital mutilation.

FGM constitutes a persecution qualifying for being granted refugee status according to the international human rights standards as well as European law. However, because of lack of uniform implementation among all member states of the European Union (EU), women and girls are put at risk of being returned to countries where they could be subjected to FGM.

END FGM European Campaign is run by Amnesty International Ireland, in partnership with non-governmental organisations across the European Union. The campaign is launching a strategy with concrete recommendations for the EU Member States and the EU institutions.

  • Read the strategy ENDING FGM: A Strategy for European Union Institutions here




Latest News
Does the EU have zero vision to end female genital mutilation?
03/02/2012 - News by END FGM
Ahead of the International Day of Zero Tolerance of female genital mutilation, Amnesty International and the European Women’s Lobby challenged the EU to lay out its vision for ending female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women. A video has been launched on this occasion. [...]
European Parliament Committee Chair pledges to act against FGM
27/01/2012 - News by END FGM
The European Parliament has selected a new Chair, Mikael Gustafsson who pledged his support for our campaign. [...]
 Read more news
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