Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download PDFDownload PDF 

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment

WOMEN—FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

Senator Cash, also on behalf of Senator Kroger, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 1016—That the Senate—

 (a) notes the World Health Organization (WHO) findings in relation to female genital mutilation (FGM), including:

  (i) FGM is defined by the WHO as `all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons',

  (ii) it is estimated that FGM is practised in 28 countries in western, eastern and north-eastern Africa, in parts of the Middle East, and within some immigrant communities in Europe, North America and Australasia, and that 100 to 140 million women and girls around the world have experienced the procedure, including 92 million in Africa,

  (iii) that, in seven of the countries where FGM is practised, the national prevalence rate among women aged 15 to 49 is almost universal - more than 85 per cent,

  (iv) FGM has no known health benefits and is known to be harmful to girls and women in many different ways; it is painful and traumatic and the removal of, or damage to, healthy genital tissue interferes with the body's natural functioning and causes immediate and long-term health consequences,

  (v) in terms of impact on health:

   (A) immediate consequences of FGM can include severe pain, shock, haemorrhage, tetanus or sepsis, urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue, and

   (B) long-term consequences include recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections, cysts, infertility, an increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths and the need for later surgeries; for example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening needs to be cut open later to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth, and


  (vi) FGM is a manifestation of deeply entrenched gender inequality and is recognised as a human rights abuse, and it constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, a violation of the rights of the child, the rights to health, life, security, physical integrity and the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;

 (b) acknowledges that:

  (i) several international and regional treaties have specifically identified FGM as being both a violation of the rights of women and girls and a form of discrimination, including the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, `Ending female genital mutilation' resolutions 54/7 of 2010, 52/2 of 2008 and 51/2 of 2007, and

  (ii) in Australia, any type of FGM is clearly prohibited by specific legislation in every jurisdiction; and

 (c) expresses concern at recent identified cases of FGM in Australia.

Question put and passed.