The Greek Forum of Refugees on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
According to a joint statement by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the United Nations (UN), the term “female genital mutilation” (also called “female genital cutting” and “female genital mutilation/cutting”) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
The sexual amputation of women has very negative consequences for both physical and mental health of women and affects their sex life. It can cause, among other things, infections and chronic pain, but also infertility or complications to childbirth. Many times during the amputation, bleeding can result in death.
In many of the countries where it is enforced, there are laws that prohibit it, but they are not implemented sufficiently or not at all. In 2012, the UN General Assembly recognized female sexual mutilation as a violation of human rights and unanimously voted to step up efforts to abolish it.
In 2001 resolution, the Council recognized the genital mutilation as an inhuman and degrading treatment under the Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. At the same time, it urged all States to seize measures to prevent and combat, but also to protect, victims and potential victims.
The Convention defines gender – based violence against women as “violence against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately”. The term “women” for the purposes of the Convention also includes girls under eighteen (18) years of age.
As far as the asylum process is concerned, the Convention recognizes female genital mutilation and all other forms of violence against women as a form of persecution and urges the Contracting Parties to take the necessary measures to be recognized as a form of persecution within the meaning of Article 1, A (2) of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.
The abolition of this inhuman practice has already been demanded by numerous intergovernmental organizations including the African Union, the European Union and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, as well as three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.