Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address Female Genital Mutilation – one year since the launch

Published date: 
25 Nov 2009

Press Release

Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address Female Genital Mutilation – one year since the launch

25th November 2009

Today marks the one year anniversary of the launch of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). One year on the National Action Plan is yet to be formally adopted by any government agency and specific legislation outlawing this form of torture in Ireland is still not in place.

The goals of the National Action Plan are to; firstly, prevent the practice of FGM in Ireland. Secondly, to provide high quality, appropriate health care and support for women and girls who have undergone FGM. Finally, to contribute to the worldwide campaign to end FGM.

We estimate that over 2,500 women living in Ireland have undergone the procedure and thousands of children are at risk of this potentially fatal practice, which is a gross violation of their human rights.

The Irish government must follow through on the recommendations proposed to Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Children, and adopt a bill to specifically outlaw the practice in Ireland. Only once this is achieved will these women and children be protected and we can continue our work to promote the abandonment of the practice internationally.

The Steering Committee is particularly concerned about the gaps between the current United Kingdom legislation, covering Northern Ireland, and our own. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 in the UK introduced extraterritoriality, making it an offence, for the first time, for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal.

Salome Mbugua, Director of AkiDwA says “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. These two scenarios need to be catered for together within legislation.  We hope that the Minister for Health and Children will get the appropriate support from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Attorney General in urgently progressing this matter.”


For more information;
Sioban O’Brien Green, AkiDwA
Co-ordinator Migrant Women's Health Project
01 814 8582

Notes to editor

The Steering Committee is made up of the following organisations;

Amnesty International (Irish Section)
Children’s Rights Alliance       
Christian Aid
Integrating Ireland           
Integration of African Children in Ireland
Irish Aid             
Irish Family Planning Association
National Women’s Council of Ireland   
Refugee Information Service
Somali Community in Ireland       
Somali Community Youth Group
Women’s Health Council

The 6th February 2010, is International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, and we will host a seminar to coincide with this on Thursday 4th February in Dublin.

Female genital mutilation is a human rights violation in which part or all of the genitals of young girls generally below 15 years are pricked, cut or removed, usually without anaesthesia. The consequences include, but are not limited to, increased risks of HIV and infertility, chronic urinary and menstrual problems and complications during childbirth. FGM is a form of violence against women that is recognised internationally as a human rights violation.

A copy of Ireland’s National Action Plan is available at

National Action Plan on Female Genital Mutilation Steering Committee