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UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
High-level Panel discussion on Female Genital Mutilation
16 June 2014
Australia strongly agrees that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a harmful practice that violates the human rights of women and girls. FGM constitutes a serious threat to the health of women and girls, including their psychological, sexual and reproductive health.
Australia’s clear position is that female genital mutilation is never justified and will not be tolerated in Australia under any circumstances.
All Australian States and Territories have enacted legislation that makes it a criminal offence to intentionally perform FGM on another person. Australia undertook a review in 2013 which found that Australia’s laws are effective in comprehensively criminalising female genital mutilation.
Australia’s domestic efforts to prevent FGM are based on collaborative, cross-sectoral action to engage with affected communities, provide education and support, and to build the evidence base on FGM in Australia. Our actions are motivated by respect for those affected by the practice, and by a commitment to protect them from stigma.
Working with communities that practice FGM and providing support and education is essential to achieving change from within and ending the practice.
Australia’s aid program has a strong focus on maternal and child health. This includes strengthening health systems necessary to promote the appropriate care and support for women affected by FGM.
We look forward to the Panel’s advice on how we can collectively improve awareness with communities that practise, or are affected by, FGM to change attitudes and move towards the abandonment of FGM.