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The Finnish Parliament is set to discuss the practice of female genital mutilation and the need to clarify its unlawful nature in the legislation in the near future. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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THE LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE of the Finnish Parliament has determined unanimously that the criminal code should be amended to clarify the punishable nature of female genital mutilation.

The committee issued its ruling yesterday after convening to discuss a citizens’ initiative calling for a separate act to prohibit the harmful practice.

Although the Finnish legislation makes it possible to punish people for female genital mutilation, such cases have to be examined in light of the elements of assault. The Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday stated that the government should take quick action and present the legislative amendments needed to clarify the punishable nature of female genital mutilation by the end of the electoral term.

The ruling was welcomed by policy makers and humanitarian workers.

Ujuni Ahmed, a specialist at World Vision Finland, said she is delighted with the ruling, having been part of the delegation that presented the citizens’ initiative to the Finnish Parliament.

“My hands are trembling. This is incredible! Thanks to the Legal Affairs Committee and to everyone who has worked with me on prohibiting the mutilation of girls’ genitalia. I’m speechless. This is my Finland,” she rejoiced on Twitter on Wednesday.

“There is evidence that girls born in Finland have been sent overseas to be mutilated,” reminded Matias Mäkynen (SDP). “We’re talking about a major human rights issue. We must guarantee the inviolability of everyone. The issue will now move on to the session hall, where the statement will get the final approval.”

“Citizens’ initiatives have yet again shown their power to rectify flaws. Thanks to the authors and signatories of the initiative,” echoed Mari Holopainen (Greens).

The Legal Affairs Committee viewed in its statement that the regulatory framework should be clarified also in regards to the non-medical circumcisions of boys. Its members attached two opposing dissenting views on the matter to the statement.

Antero Laukkanen (Christian Democrats) gauged there is no need to clarify the guidelines for non-medical circumcisions issued in 2015 by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, especially given the significance of the procedure for the cultural identity and religious practice in Islam and Judaism.

Leena Meri, Mari Rantanen and Sebastian Tynkkynen of the Finns Party contrastively viewed that all non-medical circumcisions should be made punishable under law.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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