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Eliminating female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a specific form of violence involving procedures including the partial or total removal of the external genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons. The practice has severe short- and long-term physical and psychological consequences for the victims. It is an unacceptable violation of human rights and of the rights of women and girls.

There is no reliable and comparable data on the prevalence of FGM at EU level, as under-reporting and incomplete data are an issue. It is estimated however that hundreds of thousands of women living in Europe have been subjected to genital mutilation and thousands of girls are at risk. The largest groups of women and girls originating from countries in which the practice of FGM is widespread live in the following EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

FGM is considered a crime in the EU. In addition, in some countries, a principle of extra-territoriality renders it possible to prosecute the practice even when it is committed outside of the country’s borders.

What is the EU doing?

  • The EU has expressed a strong commitment to eliminating female genital mutilation. The European Commission Communication on eliminating FGM sets out a list of measures that the Commission will take in the coming years. Further information and Press Pack are available here;
  • The EU supports non-governmental organisations working to combat FGM at the grassroots level;
  • The EU supports projects in non-EU countries with a high prevalence of FGM;
  • The European Institute for Gender Equality develops knowledge and provides resources on FGM.

Find out more

video FGM