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Verbatim report of proceedings
Wednesday, 19 September 2001 - Brussels OJ edition

Female genital mutilation

  Turco (TDI), draftsman of the opinion of the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs. – (IT) Mr President, I would like to start by thanking Mrs Valenciano Martínez-Orozco for her work, which followed on a resolution supported by 316 Members. This may be part of the reason why the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs adopted the report unanimously. The most important element, which Mr Dell’Alba and Mrs Valenciano Martínez-Orozco referred to, recognising the right of asylum of women under threat from genital mutilation, is considered by our committee too to be one of the major, crucial points in this battle.

I would like to mention once again the two figures which have already been cited: there are 130 million victims in the world; 2 million children undergo genital mutilation every year. In addition to the various education and information, humanitarian, social and health initiatives and initiatives supporting non-governmental organisations, in particular, our committee feels that it must single out one in particular: the appeal to the Member States to ensure that female genital mutilation is prosecuted through the rigorous application of existing provisions laying down the right to health and personal integrity as a fundamental right, and the rigorous application of the provisions of the penal code which ban any deliberate action violating this right. We demand, that is, for there to be no possible recourse to the concept of exception or cultural diversity to justify relativism or the watering down of this fundamental right or of the related legal protection which is incumbent upon the State.

We therefore call upon the Commission, the Council and the Member States to endeavour to make our resolutions reality with all speed.

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