Search This Blog

Friday, August 12, 2011

Combating female genital mutilation lacks funding

August 13, 2011
The Portugal News Online

While terming the subject taboo, a group working with Guinean immigrants says female genital mutilation (FGM) exists among the community in Portugal.

Susana Piegas, of the Association of Guinean Immigrants and Friends of South Tagus, told Lusa News Agency the problem was “very present” in largely poor and immigrant communities, such as Vale da Amoreira, a Lisbon suburb.

Although no firm statistics could be ascertained, “the numbers are terrifying”, she said Saturday.

Piegas explained that not only had cases been identified in the community but that the mutilation itself was taking place in Portugal.

Members of the European campaign ‘End Female Genital Mutilation’, Amnesty International and the Portuguese Association for Family Planning have lamented the lack of funding and coordination targeting instances of this human rights abuse in Portugal.

Amnesty’s Ana Margarida Ferreira further identified the need for greater awareness by the state immigration services, that FGM itself represented grounds for political asylum.

This comes despite the government having presented its second “Zero Tolerance of FGM” last February that promised a “change in cultural values” and “strengthening preventive measures”.

The European Parliament has estimated that 500,000 women across the European Union have been subject to such mutilation with as many as 180,000 at risk annually.