Up to 50 girls a year at risk of genital mutilation, says health ministry

Efforts to tackle female circumcision using good, focused information and the threat of punishment are working, according to a new report for the health ministry.

Yet while no exact figures are available, research institute Pharos says some 40 to 50 girls a year are at risk of being circumcised while visiting their country of origin.

‘These remain confrontational figures but the fact the risk to girls who have lived here for some time is low is a good sign,’ junior health minister Martin van Rijn said in a statement. ‘But every case is one too many.’

Other countries

In total, some 30,000 women in the Netherlands have had their genitals mutilated. This usually happened before they arrived in the country. Somalia and Egypt are among the countries where female circumcision is widely practiced, the research showed.

The current maximum sentence facing parents who allow their daughters to be mutilated is 12 years. The children can also be taken into care. Legislation giving the authorities wider powers to pursue abuse cases is currently going through parliament.

Wednesday has been declared Zero Tolerance Day on genital mutilation by the United Nations.

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