NPWJ welcomes the adoption of a legislation banning FGM in Ireland

Brussels-Rome, 28 March 2012

 
Today the Irish Senate approved the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill, outlawing the practice in Ireland as well as allowing the prosecution of any resident in the country who has committed this criminal offence abroad.
 
Prior to this, legislation on FGM was included in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997, which was however considered as insufficient to protect the 11,500 women and girls residing in Ireland from communities that widely practice FGM. Over 3,000 women living in Ireland are estimated to have undergone FGM. The new law adds important elements to this pre existing Act, including a definition of FGM; clarifications on criminal responsibility and penalties; protection of victims; and the removal of the argument of consent or culture to be pleaded as a defense in a case of FGM.
 
Statement by Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the FGM Program of No Peace Without Justice:
 
“No Peace Without Justice and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) are heartened that Ireland now has, for the first time, a self-standing law that provides for criminalising the practice, prosecution of offenders and protection of victims.Significantly, the new Bill, which explicitly refers to FGM as a human rights violation and a form of gender-based violence, allows to pursue, prosecute and punish any resident who has committed the crime of FGM, even if the offence is committed outside Ireland.
 
“We urge the Irish Government and local authorities to promptly enact its provisions and launch a wide-scale awareness and education campaign to sensitize the communities in the areas affected that female circumcision is not only degrading, but also criminal and use its provisions to stamp out the practice once and for all.
 
“NPWJ and the NRPTT consider legal instruments to be of fundamental importance in the struggle against the practice and are appealing to all states affected by the practice to adopt and enforce adequate and effective legislation to ban and regard all forms of FGM as criminal offences as well as to provide strong and clear support for the innumerable human rights groups, women’s associations and individual advocates that fight a daily battle to challenge this harmful practice and work to bring an end to it.
 
“The time has also come for the international community to take responsibility by universally condemning this harmful practice as a human rights violation against millions of women and girls around the world. Together with the other members of the Worldwide Ban FGM Coalition, we look forward the United Nations General Assembly to adopt by the end of this year, at its 67th Session, a Resolution to ban female genital mutilation worldwide, which would help creating the foundations of a real and strong international alliance to defeat female genital mutilation once and for all.”
 
 
Ban FGM Campaign
No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT), in coalition with the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children, Euronet-FGM and the Senegalese NGO La Palabre, have cooperated closely on several initiatives to foster support for the adoption of UNGA Resolution banning FGM as a human rights violation. The campaign has gained the support of human rights activists, women’s organisations, parliamentarians and government representatives from throughout Africa and Europe.
 
 
For more information, contact Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the FGM Program, on ajablonko@npwj.org / phone: +32 (0)2 548-39 13 or Nicola Giovannini on ngiovannini@npwj.org or +32 (0)2 548-39 15.