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 European Institute for Gender Equality develops knowledge and provides resources on FGM.
Find out more
- Joint Statement on the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation
- Capacity4dev: topic gender
- Capacity4dev: topic children
- EU development and cooperation
- European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2012 on ending female genital mutilation
- UN Resolution on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation
- European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) website on female genital mutilation
- European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2014 on the Commission communication entitled ‘Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation’
- Justice and Home Affairs Council Conclusions of 5 and 6 June 2014 - "Preventing and combating all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation"
- "Our daughters will not be mutilated" Euronews video explores one woman's experience of genital mutilation and her fight to end the practice