International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Published date: 
5 Feb 2010


Friday 5 February 2010

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

 Statement by Jillian van Turnhout, Children’s Rights Alliance

“To mark International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (Saturday 6 February), the Children’s Rights Alliance has compiled a child-focused briefing note outlining Female Genital Mutilation’s (FGM) gross violation of children’s rights and its real child protection implications for children living in Ireland.  

“There is currently no explicit legal protection against FGM in Ireland; neither is there specific legislation to protect a child from being removed from Ireland to have the procedure carried out overseas.  This important day is an opportunity for the Alliance, and for all of Ireland, to urge Government to enact and enforce legislation to ban FGM in Ireland.  Until such legislation is enacted and enforced, children in Ireland remain at serious risk of enduring this horrific practice.

“This is not new to Government, with the Alliance having called for legislation to outlaw FGM for some time.  In 2006, following submission of our Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee itself specifically criticised Ireland for its failure to comprehensively address the issue.  The UN Committee recommended the introduction of legislation prohibiting FGM, including the possibility of extra-territorial jurisdiction.  Currently, Ireland is one of only three countries within the EU 15 without extraterritorial legislation to cover FGM.  Ireland’s next examination by the UN Committee takes place next year, in 2011; we strongly urge Government to meet its obligations in advance of this review, and to avoid being seriously out of step internationally.

“Government needs to begin to address FGM as a grave child protection issue.  Last December it issued its revised child protection guidelines Children First National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children but failed to acknowledge FGM.  And this despite our direct recommendation to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that FGM should be included in the revised guidelines in order to acknowledge the changing profile of children living in Ireland.  Such an oversight is inexcusable.  

“FGM is going nowhere and Government must take action now and do all it can to ensure that each and every child living in Ireland is protected from the horrors of FGM.”  

Jillian van Turnhout

Chief Executive



Notes to Editor:

1.    The above statement can be used verbatim.

2.    The International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation takes place across the world on Saturday 6 February 2010 to highlight this internationally-recognised human rights violation of women and girls.

3.    The Alliance has issued: Briefing Paper on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): A Children’s Rights Issue to coincide with the event.  See

4.    On Thursday 4 February 2010, a seminar was held in Dublin by the Steering Committee of Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address Female Genital Mutilation.  The Children’s Rights Alliance is a member of this Committee.  

5.    International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation: Briefing Paper on FGM and National Steering Committee Progress for Ireland is available here

6.    Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address Female Genital Mutilation is available at 

Children's Rights Alliance