Opening speech by Cecilia Malmström in the high-level roundtable to call for zero tolerance for female genital mutilation
Type: Complete speech
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 6th March 2013, in the framework of the International Women's Day, Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs, gave in Brussels an opening statement in the high-level roundtable to call for zero tolerance for female genital mutilation, in presence of Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Home Affairs, (in ENGLISH): Thank you very much Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, for your initiative today. Ladies and Gentlemen, Madame, it is a great honour to be here to talk about this very serious subject; Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). When I first came into contact with this phenomenon, that was almost twenty years ago when I was working in Sweden where we had a large Somali community and they were actually working just when Sweden had entered the European Union in order to try to abolish this practise and to inform their sisters and brothers on the best ways to do that. I have heard so many horrible stories on suffering, on pain, on child birth, on humiliation, on infections and lack of decent and normal sexual lives. This is indeed a terrible violation of human rights, of women rights and it is recognised by EU law. I am very happy to tell you that we are right now very advanced in working to set up a common European asylum system. This has been the goal of the European Union for many years and we have been negotiating for many years as well. We are very close now to get an agreement on the whole set of practise and in these laws and rules and directives as we call them here, on procedures, on reception conditions, on qualifications, there are particular room considered to gender related issues whereas if a woman risks being subject to practise of FGM or if a child, a girl risks being sent by or taking away from the country in the EU, she or that family will be considered as a subject to international protection. That will be regulated in all the directives in little different ways giving them right to consideration, rights for a special treatment, properly preparation, effective possibilities to put their case in front of experts being able to explain all this. We are right now also setting up contact committees and a training scheme to share the knowledge of this practise and to prepare Member States. Some have already prepared it, some need more time in order to do this. This is very important and it will also mark the EU's commitments in order to say no to this practise to protect women and children who risk to be subject to this and I hope that, together with the dialogue, with Non Governmental Organisations (NGO's), with many of you, the EU Parliament, other representatives here around the table, the work that Viviane Reding is doing and of course the Institute to present the very interesting report - thank you so much for that as well – I think we can put up a strong EU response to do our outmost to fight this practise. Thank you very much and I am really honoured to be here. I want to apologize that I need to leave in 25 minutes to go to the EU Parliament thank you.
||Cutaways of the participants (11 shots)