Conservatives demand action on mutilation of girls

03-Feb-2014 @ 9:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Following pressure from campaigning MEP Marina Yannakoudakis, a hard-hitting resolution will be put to the European Parliament this week demanding action to end the horror of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The resolution, together with a question to the European Commission about its plans to tackle this brutal practice, will be debated in Strasbourg on Thursday – which has been declared International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM by the United Nations.

Mrs Yannakoudakis is Conservative MEP for London, where mutilation is disturbingly prevalent among some communities. She helped word the resolution as a member of the parliament's Gender Equality Committee.

She strengthened clauses to categorise genital mutilation unambiguously as violent abuse of girls, and also pressed for the resolution to be given an early place on the Parliament's agenda to coincide with the UN awareness day.

The resolution urges the Commission and its diplomatic arm to take a firm stance against non-European Union countries which do not condemn FGM. It also demands that member states must pursue, prosecute and punish any EU resident involved in the ritual cutting of the genitals of young girls.

It defines the practice as a gross form of violence against women and calls for more thorough data to be collected on its frequency and distribution. MEPs are expected to approve it by a substantial majority on Thursday.

Mrs Yannakoudakis said: "The horror of female genital mutilation affects more than 125 million worldwide, and most victims are young children.

"It is good that the UN sets aside a particular day every year to raise awareness of this brutality against girls and young women but this practice goes on 365 days a year.

"We need to take firm action, not just today but every day, to make sure we punish those responsible for the mutilation of our little girls and put a stop to this cruel and barbaric crime for good.

"That is why I have pushed to get this resolution before the European Parliament and I strongly hope it will secure support.

"This vote won't stop this horrific practice overnight, but it starts to build up pressure on the European authorities as well as on national governments to address the problem with the seriousness it so gravely deserves."

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