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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ireland: TDs petition Justice Minister on female genital mutilation

Dara Gantly
The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform should strongly consider introducing specific legislation that would outlaw female genital mutilation (FGM) in Ireland.
The Joint Oireachtas Com-mittee on Health and Children also wants to prohibit parents of Irish-born children from sending their offspring to countries to have the procedure carried out. The call came on the same day that Nigerian woman Ms Pamela Izevbekhai lost her High Court challenge against her deportation. The mother of two, Naomi (7) and Jemima (6), claims that her children risk serious harm due to FGM if sent back to Nigeria.
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Speaking after receiving a delegation from AkiDwA, an organisation that works on behalf of African women in Ireland, Committee Chairman Se├ín O’Fearghaill TD said that the Committee would be asking the Minister for Justice to look at the matter urgently, as there was ‘no place in Irish society for this barbaric practice’.
An estimated 2,585 women living in Ireland have undergone FGM and there are 9,624 women from countries which practice FGM residing here.
The European Court of Human Rights has requested that the Government refrain from deporting Ms Izevbekhai until it considers the case.