European Commission demands to 'eradicate' female genital mutilation

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The European Comission demanded this Friday the end of female genital mutilation, considering that this practice is "a violation of human rights and a form of violence" that, according to data from Brussels, affects some 600,000 women and girls throughout the European Union (EU).

The call occurs on the eve of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilationwhich is celebrated every February 6.

The Community Executive recalls that female genital mutilation, which consists of the removal of the external genitalia of women without any medical reason, "does not benefit health at all and causes damage for a lifetime" to those who suffer it.

Brussels warns that, often, the ablations of women and girls in the EU do not occur in community territory, but "are transferred to a third country for that purpose."

For this reason, the Commission indicates that, starting this March, a new Schengen Information System which will alert EU police and border guards when they are dealing with women at risk of genital mutilation.

Last year, in addition, Brussels already presented a package of rules to fight against gender violence that, once it receives the green light from the European Parliament and the Member States (Council), will criminalize cutting as a crime of Community scope in all EU countries.

The Commission statement is endorsed by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrellthe Vice President of the Community Executive, Vera Jourová, and the European Commissioners for Equality, Helena Dalli, and for International Associations, Jutta Urpilainen.

UNICEF It estimates that currently at least 200 million girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation, a practice that four million girls risk suffering for the first time every year.

The Commission estimates that in Europe there are at least 190,000 girls who are at risk of being mutilated and calculates that every year at least 20,000 women and girls who are at risk of being cut in their countries of origin arrive as asylum seekers.

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