Every girl and woman has the right to live a life free of violence and pain.
And yet, more than 200 million women and girls across the world have been forced to undergo the painful and traumatic practice of Female Genital Mutilation, including 500,000 living in Europe.
Millions more girls are at risk of being cut: 68 million girls in 25 countries by 2030.
Female Genital Mutilation is a severe violation of human rights and of women’s physical integrity. It is a practice that amounts to torture and a degrading treatment that cannot be justified.
Neither on the basis of custom, nor tradition, culture or religion.
It is a crime in all European Union Member States. We have recently seen the first convictions of persons that conducted female genital mutilation and we expect to see anyone committing these crimes in the European Union or organising them in a third country to be brought to justice.
Even though many challenges remain, this an important first step towards justice for the victims.
The European Union is at the forefront of global efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation by 2030. We have supported partner countries in criminalising this harmful practice, and we are committed to do even more.
The EU and the UN have launched the global Spotlight Initiative, with the aim to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation, child marriages and other harmful practices against women.
To promote sustainable social change, the EU will fund projects to combat gender-based violence at grassroots level. To end this practice, we will work hand-in-hand with actors at all levels: authorities, community leaders, parents, parliaments, the judiciary, civil society, youth and the media, and other relevant stakeholders.
We remain committed to do everything in our power to eliminate this criminal practice.
The statement was prepared by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová.