Spain boosts fight against female genital mutilation

January 14, 2015

Parents in Spain will be asked to sign a declaration promising their daughters will not undergo female genital mutilation when they visit nations where the practice is common, under a new government protocol approved Wednesday.

The measure is part of a comprehensive strategy for preventing, detecting and treating the practice among at-risk populations in Spain.

"I promise to look after the health of the minor(s) who I am responsible for and prevent genital mutilation and come to a medical review after returning from the trip," reads the document pediatricians will require to sign.

Doctors will also be required to inform the parents of the of the practice according to the protocol which is expected to be implemented in the coming months, according to Spain's .

Once a family returns to Spain, the girls must be examined again by a doctor, who can start against the parents if it is found that the minors underwent during their trip.

If a parent refuses to sign the documents, doctors will be required to inform judicial authorities "who can put in place precautionary steps to prevent" female genital mutilation from happening, according to the protocol.

The protocol notes that there are nearly 17,000 girls under the age of 14 years living in Spain whose families are from countries where female genital mutilation is common.

Female genital mutilation ranges from the hacking off of the clitoris to the mutilation and removal of the entire female genitalia, and is carried out from the youngest babies to teenagers.

More than 125 million women have been mutilated in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which condemns the practice as a "violation of the human rights" of women.

Apart from the intense pain itself, immediate dangers include bleeding and infection.

Communities originally from those countries have also carried the painful tradition to Western nations.

In the longer term, risks include infertility and complications during childbirth, sometimes resulting in the death of the baby.

While illegal in multiple nations, including Spain, female genital mutilation continues to be carried out in secret, often in basic conditions without anaesthetic.

"There is no evidence that mutilations are carried out in Spain, but that parents take advantage of trips with their daughters to have it done," said Nieves Crespo, who manages female genital mutilation prevention programs for the Union of Family Associations.

Explore further: UK hospitals required to report female genital mutilation

Related Stories

UK hospitals required to report female genital mutilation

February 6, 2014
British hospitals will be required for the first time to record patients who have been subjected to female genital mutilation, the government announced on Thursday.

UN passes first resolution on female mutilation

November 27, 2012
The UN General Assembly on Monday passed its first resolution condemning female genital mutilation, which opponents say more than 140 million women worldwide have had to endure.

Two held in Britain over 'female genital mutilation'

May 4, 2012
Two people were arrested in Britain's second city of Birmingham on Friday after a media report that medics and alternative practitioners had offered to perform female genital mutilation.

Charges over genital mutilation of girls in Australia

September 14, 2012
Many cases of female genital mutilation likely go unreported in Australia, a state minister said Friday after four people were charged over the alleged circumcision of two girls aged 6 and 7.

Somalia: Female genital mutilation down

April 16, 2013
(AP)—Attitudes in Somalia toward a practice that critics decry as torture may be changing, as new data released by the U.N. children's agency on Tuesday showed that female genital mutilation among children in northern Somalia ...

Worldwide FGM ban sought at 'Girl Summit' (Update 2)

July 22, 2014
British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Tuesday for a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation and child marriage as he launched the first UN-backed "Girl Summit" on issues that affect millions around the globe.

Recommended for you

It's not just for kids—even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime

September 21, 2018
Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it's not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z's.

Most nations falling short of UN targets to cut premature deaths from chronic diseases

September 21, 2018
People in the UK, US and China have a higher risk of dying early from conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke than people in Italy, France, South Korea and Australia.

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO

September 21, 2018
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year—more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

Smart pills dumb down medical care, experts warn

September 21, 2018
Enthusiasm for an emerging digital health tool, the smart pill, is on the rise but researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics that cautions health care ...

China's doctor shortage prompts rush for AI health care

September 20, 2018
Qu Jianguo, 64, had a futuristic medical visit in Shanghai as he put his wrist through an automated pulse-taking machine and received the result within two minutes on a mobile phone—without a doctor present.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.