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Racism fear puts 20,000 girls and women at risk of genital mutilation
MPs said Britain’s attempt to end sexual violence and mutilation abroad is being undermined by the failure to tackle the problem here (Picture: PA)
Thursday, June 13, 2013
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Up to 20,000 girls and women living in Britain are at risk of genital mutilation because officials are scared of appearing to be racists.
The people who should be protecting them are afraid of criticising other cultures, the International Development Select Committee said.
MPs said Britain’s attempts to end sexual violence and mutilation abroad is being undermined by the failure to tackle the problem here.
Female genital mutilation is often carried out on children without anaesthetic and takes place in Britain, parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
It is often done to deny women sexual pleasure.
‘This undermines our own credibility and the programmes we fund to stamp out female genital mutilation in countries like Somalia,’ committee chairman Sir Malcolm Bruce said.
‘For us to meet the goal to eradicate this brutal practice within a generation, the UK government must also act on this issue in the UK.’
The Home Office said the police and social workers must not let political correctness get in the way of preventing the crime.
‘There is no justification for female genital mutilation,’ said a Home Office spokesman. ‘It is child abuse and it is illegal. We are absolutely clear that political or cultural sensitivities must not get in the way of preventing and uncovering this terrible form of criminal activity.
‘The law in this country applies to absolutely everyone.’
FGM has no medical benefits, carries health risks and has been illegal in Britain since 1985. It carries a maximum jail term of 14 years.
Despite 148 referrals to police since 2009 only four cases have been passed to prosecutors, none led to charges. Social services have not placed any girls on the ‘at risk’ register.
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