Written answers

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Female Genital Mutilation

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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58. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the progress being made to ban female genital mutilation at both EU and UN level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17398/19]

Photo of Ciarán CannonCiarán Cannon (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting is a fundamental violation of the human rights of women and girls. It is nearly always carried out on minors.  Approximately 3.6 million girls are at risk of being subjected to FGM in any given year.  According to a recent World Health Organisation report, there are 200 million girls and women in 30 countries affected by FGM. While there has been an overall decline in the prevalence of FGM in the last three decades, not all countries have made progress and the pace of change has been uneven.

In 2018, Ireland co-sponsored resolutions in the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly calling for the intensification of efforts to eliminate FGM.  Ireland also provides support to a number of UN agencies, including UNICEF and UNFPA to address this issue. UNFPA and UNICEF jointly lead the largest global programme to accelerate the abandonment of FGM which currently focuses on 17 African countries with the highest prevalence of FGM. The programme supports the development of legislation outlawing FGM; funds community and media education initiatives on FGM; and provides training to improve health care services for those affected. 

In addition, the European Union and the UN are collaborating on a new, global initiative - the Spotlight Initiative - focusing on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, with an emphasis on  specific regions. In Africa, the Spotlight Initiative is concentrating on sexual and gender based violence and harmful practises such as FGM as well as addressing links to sexual reproductive health and rights.


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