Global Resources

Guidelines for parliamentarians: abandoning female genital mutilation/cutting

Author: E. Leye
Publisher: Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa
Publication Date: Jan 2012
At least 28 countries on the African continent practice some form of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C). Believing that FGM/C could be eradicated within a generation if appropriate actions are taken, the Association of European parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) and the Pan-African Parliament Women’s Caucus initiated a campaign to champion the cause among parliamentarians. Their efforts aim at enhancing the capacity of African and European parliaments to exercise oversight, representative and legislative functions with regard to the practices of FGM/C, with a focus on FGM/C legislation, implementation and enforcement. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a practical instrument for parliamentarians to put the issue of FGM/C high on the agenda and to accelerate the abandonment of FGM/C in their respective countries. Chapter 1 describes the basics of FGM/C, including emerging trends. Chapter 2 provides information about legal frameworks, as well as regional (African and European) campaigns. Chapter 3 describes a holistic approach to making to the elimination of FGM/C, from making the practice illegal to intervention planning. Fourth and final chapter is dedicated to what parliamentarians can do to fight FGM/C, including the adoption of adequate budgets and dialogue with civil society, particularly with women's movements. These key messages are highlighted: • FGM/C is a violation of the rights of women and the girl child. • FGM/C has serious consequences on the health and wellbeing of girls and women. • FGM/C cuts across religions, countries and ages. • FGM/C is widespread. • FGM/C is a form of gender discrimination. • FGM/C is gender-based violence. • FGM/C is perpetuating patriarchal structures. • There is a big difference between FGM/C and male circumcision. • Governments must protect women from violence, including FGM/C. • Parliamentarians play a catalytic role in the acceleration of FGM/C abandonment.