Buzek, Reding and people of Europe support EU action on female genital mutilation

END FGM European Campaign
Buzek, Reding and people of Europe support EU action on female genital mutilation

(9 December 2010, Brussels) On the eve of Human Rights Day, Amnesty International’s END FGM European Campaign is calling on the European Union to heed the voices of over 24,000 people across Europe who signed a rose petal to support an EU-wide strategy against female genital mutilation. Rose petals were also signed by a number of EU officials such as the European Parliament’s President Jerzy Buzek* and vice President Isabelle Durant, the European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding* and the Belgian vice Prime Minister and representative of Belgian Presidency of the EU Joëlle Milquet*.

Collected during the 16 days of activism against gender violence (25 November – 10 December), over 24,000 signatures have being collected online on www.endfgm.eu and on actual rose petals– that’s equivalent to number of girls and women subjected to FGM every 3 days. “The resounding success of this action is a clear indicator that the EU cannot ignore its responsibility to end female genital mutilation and protect women and girls in Europe and beyond. The EU institutions must now listen to the voices of the public who have signed these rose petals to support the adoption of a Europe-wide strategy that is non-stigmatizing and involves those who are affected by this practice”, says Dr Christine Loudes, the Campaign Director of END FGM European Campaign, Amnesty International.

According to the European Parliament, in Europe 500,000 women and girls are estimated to be living with the lifelong physical and psychological consequences of female genital mutilation. Another 180,000 women and girls living in Europe risk being subjected to this practice each year.
Apart from these 500,000 women and girls, the innumerable doctors, midwives, teachers, police officials, judicial authorities and asylum officers who are confronted by this practice in the EU would benefit from a concrete EU strategy against female genital mutilation. Currently, they have either limited or no training, guidelines or protocols in place to provide protection to the women and girls and the families affected by female genital mutilation. These professionals equally deserve the appropriate training and tools to fulfil the needs of affected women and girls”, concluded Dr Christine Loudes, the Campaign Director of END FGM European Campaign.

* To view or to reproduce their photos, please click here

Background Information:
Female genital mutilation is a practice that consists of cutting external female genitalia; the extreme form called ‘infibulation’ involves stitching up the vagina as well. It is generally practiced on young girls, sometimes even babies. It is a form of violence against women and girls and a violation of human rights. The five key dimensions through which the EU can protect women and girls living with, or at risk of, FGM are:
1. Collection of data on prevalence of FGM in Europe
2. Accessible and appropriate healthcare for women living with FGM in Europe
3. Better protection mechanisms to address violence against women and children
4. Clear asylum guidelines for those under threat of FGM,
5. Mainstreaming of FGM in the EU’s external actions with third countries where FGM is prevalent

To arrange interviews, please contact:
Dr Christine Loudes, Campaign Director, END FGM European Campaign, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (2) 548 2775 Mob: +32 (0)4844 02468
E: [email protected] W: www.endfgm.eu
END FGM European Campaign is run by Amnesty International in partnership with 14 grassroots organisations in the EU.