UK launches "health passport” to reduce genital mutilation

TrustLaw 27 November 2012
By Emma Batha

Britain launched an initiative dubbed a "health passport” on Monday that is designed to reduce the number of girls subjected to horrific genital mutilations while visiting family overseas

Statement Opposing Female Genital Mutilation

From today, parents and girls from communities that practise female genital mutilation (FGM) will be able to carry a government statement in their passports spelling out that British residents can face up to 14 years in jail if they arrange for FGM to be carried out abroad.

The government says up to 24,000 girls in Britain are thought to be at risk of FGM, which it calls a "cruel and brutal practice”. It believes many girls are taken overseas to have the procedure done – often during the long summer holidays.

The Statement Opposing Female Genital Mutilation – an idea copied from the so-called health passport introduced by the Netherlands – is available in numerous languages and designed to be discretely carried in a wallet or slipped into the back of a passport.

The idea is that families can show the document to any relatives abroad who are pressuring them to have FGM carried out on their daughters.

Under British law it is an offence to take a girl abroad for FGM or to procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even if it is legal in that country. (continue reading...)