Guidelines/brochures | Date: 2001-11-21
For an overview of the Action Plan click "Contents"
Ministry of Children and Family Affairs
Governmental Action Plan against Female Genital Mutilation
Norway has been shaken by the recent reports of female genital mutilation. The episodes of genital mutilation performed on young girls and the attitudes to this tradition that were reported in Norwegian media are shocking. Abuse of this kind must be combatted and this work is now high on the political agenda.
Genital mutilation violates the fundamental human rights of non-discrimination, the right to privacy and the right to health. Genital mutilation has been a criminal offence in Norway for a long time. In 1995, a law specifically prohibiting female genital mutilation was adopted. The intention of this law was to make the position of the Norwegian authorities on female genital mutilation clearer. However, the law is relatively unknown and Norwegian personnel have not been trained to take a proactive approach to the problem or give professional help to victims of genital mutilation. An important part of this action plan is therefore to spread information and to educate.
To combat the problem, it is necessary to increase awareness by informing the public, health personnel and practitioners of female genital mutilation of all the health hazards and psychological damage caused. This requires the active involvement of political leaders, the professions and the groups concerned. Persons from appropriate communities will have considerable influence and a greater possibility of preventing these practices than representatives of society at large. Consequently, the Government will give particular emphasis to involving the relevant groups in the implementation of the various efforts.
Much of the action plan will be implemented as a project, including developing training and information materials, building up expertise etc. and testing out methods of combating female genital mutilation. Parallel with the Government’s national efforts, it is important to support a similar process at the international level. Bilateral cooperation with African countries working to combat female genital mutilation will therefore be intensified.
Some women’s groups have already been working in this area for some time and some young women have stepped forward to tell of their own experiences and have taken up the issue in the public arena and within their own communities. These are strong, courageous women, able and willing to pursue an objective, but they also need help to promote their standpoint in a foreign country. This action plan is intended as a contribution to our joint effort to combat female genital mutilation.
Karita Bekkemellem Orheim