March 18, 2010
By Helsinky Times
According to Finnish law, female circumcision is a crime even if carried out abroad, the national daily Helsingin Sanomat reports.
“CIRCUMCISED immigrant women commonly go to Finnish hospitals to give birth. If the procedure was performed on the women before they moved to Finland, then there is no crime involved.
There are no statistics on the number of circumcised women, but there are about 15,000 people in Finland whose cultural traditions include circumcision as a common practice. Of these, about 11,000 are of Somali background.
Now the Somali generation born in Finland in the 1990s is approaching childbearing age. If there are circumcised women among them, then it is a case of aggravated assault against a minor. The crime must be investigated regardless of the opinion of the victim, and the statute of limitation for the crime is 20 years.
According to Finnish legal interpretation, circumcision is a crime even in the case of the girl in question being sent abroad for the procedure. There are no precedents for this matter, and medical personnel have been inadequately instructed about their notification duty.
‘The crime must be notified but it is hard to get proof,’ says Janneke Johansson, a specialist at the Finnish League for Human Rights. ‘In the 1990s parents weren’t necessarily knowledgeable about the legislation due to the social and health care workers only becoming aware of the issue after a number of mistakes had been made.’”