Tories strive to end the horror of child-mutilation

06-Feb-2014 @ 16:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

The scandal of female genital mutilation (FGM) was highlighted in Strasbourg today by campaigning MEP Marina Yannakoudakis, who told the European Parliament a zero-tolerance approach was needed across Europe and around the world.

The Conservative MEP for London said approximately 500,000 girls, from the age of only three, were at risk in Europe of being subjected to the barbaric practice of cutting away sexual body parts to fulfil cultural tradition. In the United Kingdom, she said, it was estimated 65,000 girls were at risk, most in the capital.

She was speaking this morning (Thursday) in a debate which she had pressed the parliament's authorities to place on its agenda today - the UN's International Day of Zero Tolerance on FGM.

This afternoon MEPs are expected to overwhelming adopt a report which Mrs Yannakoudakis helped to draft, calling for concerted action across the European Union to end the global disgrace of mutilating children and women.

The resolution urges the EU Commission and its diplomatic arm the External Action Service to take a firm stance against non-European Union countries which fail to 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 children and calls for more thorough data to be collected on its frequency and distribution.

Mrs Yannakoudakis told the debate: "I look to other MEPs to join me in the fight against this form of violence, of child abuse.

"We need to work in our member states to put forward a policy of zero tolerance. We need to support NGOs who are working around the world to educate and approach communities to inform them this is not an acceptable practice.

"It is child abuse and has no place in our society.

"This resolution is a call for action. Today I ask you to join me in this action."

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