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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

CONTENTS THE STEERING COMMITTEE . INTRODUCTION

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FACTS ABOUT FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

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NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION

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Goals Identified priorities Target groups Actors Objective Matrix of the main features of the Plan

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REFERENCE MATERIALS

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Steering Committee The Steering Committee is a national committee that responsible for developing a national plan of action to elimination and prevent female genital mutilation . Steering Committee Members

      

Hellenic Sudanese friendship league Institute of child health Greek forum for immigrants United African woman organization One earth International amnesty- Greek section Adviser to the Mayor’s Office on Immigration

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

INTRODUCTION This project aims to develop a national plan of action For preventing and eliminating of female genital mutilation in 15 EU countries, by joining all actors at national level in these countries. And it is funded by the Daphne program of the European commission and coordinated by the European Network for the Prevention of FGM Female genital mutilation is a fundamental violation of human rights. In the absence of any perceived medical necessity, it subjects girls and women to health risks and has life-threatening consequences. Among those rights violated are the rights to the highest attainable standard of health and to bodily integrity. FGM is, further, an extreme example of discrimination based on sex. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field” (article 1). Used as a way to control women’s sexuality, FGM is a main manifestation of gender inequality and discrimination “related to the historical suppression and subjugation of women,” denying girls and women the full enjoyment of their rights and liberties. As stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all actions concerning children should be undertaken in the best interests of the child (article 3.1). The Convention further asserts that children should have the opportunity to develop physically in a healthy way, receive adequate medical attention and be protected from all forms of violence, injury or abuse. While ‘the best interests of the child’ may be subject to cultural interpretation, FGM is an irreparable, irreversible abuse and therefore violates girls’ right to protection. Efforts to compact Female genital mutilation Although there are considerable numbers of immigrants and asylum seekers from countries with high prevalence of FGM such as Northern Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria Sera lion, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eretria and the fact that many countries in the EU is already acting to stop this harmful practice in their territories, Greece, one of the older EU members, has not yet taken any initiative to protect women and girls from this practice in the country. Greece history in compacting female genital mutilation, start recently, and seriously after the participating of the Hellenic Sudanese friendship league in Daphne project to develop a national plan of action to eliminate and prevent FGM in EU Greece, Migration is challenging for families as they try to integrate and adjust to a completely different environment and at the same time preserve essential elements of their cultural identity. It is also challenging for Greek society as it attempts to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population. Many Greek service providers may be unfamiliar with the health and care needs, child protection issues, legal technicalities and community development approaches

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

related to FGM. This can be challenging for service providers, as well as communities affected by FGM, in their desire to provide high quality and culturally appropriate services and care. This situation exposes hundreds of girls, who were born or growing up in Greece in the risk of being subjected to genital mutilation, Due to the lack of reliable data showing how many girls and women living in Greece have been genitally mutilated ,or the number of girls who may be in danger of being subjected to the procedure. A pilot research has been initiated to learn more about the scope of FGM in Greece with a view to investigate the extent of presence or absence of the practice of female genital mutilation among immigrant women residing in Greece .This pilot research was done in 2007 by a research team consist of: Katy Michalopoulou (Associate Professor in the Department Social Policy Panteion University), Sara Ahmed (Hellenic Sudanese friendship league ), Carolina Cunliff (One Earth), Masair Matzoump (GreekSudanese Friendship Association), Vanessa Kriatsioti (Training Center INE / GSEE ) M. Taki (graduate student in the Department of Social Policy Panteion University) . The Greek national plan of action based mainly on the fact that there is a Lack of healthcare for girls and women who have been mutilated, the need to raise awareness of the practice and empower communities and the need to develop a platform for informed public debate on FGM in Greece .and this three points were the main objective of the plan of action. Within these two years of the project the Greek national steering committee work very hard to address the issue of FGM, and to aware the involved stakeholders of the problem and the necessity to compact FGM , now and after these two years we can say that we put the issue of FGM under focus and more NGOs and institutes are interested and aware about the problem even the communities them self are more encouraged to talk about it, in the other hand we still struggling with the governmental department and politicians to be more involved not just by words but also by actions .

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

FACTS ABOUT FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises 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. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. Increasingly, however, FGM is being performed by medically trained personnel. FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person's rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death. Procedures Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types: 1. Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, rarely, the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris) as well. 2. Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are "the lips" that surround the vagina). 3. Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, and sometimes outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris. 4. Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterizing the genital area. Health consequences FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls' and women's bodies Immediate complications can include severe pain, shock, hemorrhage (bleeding), tetanus or sepsis (bacterial infection), urine retention, open sores in the genital region and injury to nearby genital tissue. 5


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Long-term consequences can include:    

Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections; Cysts; Infertility; The need for later surgeries. For example, the FGM procedure that seals or narrows a vaginal opening (type 3 above) is surgically changed to allow for sexual intercourse and childbirth, and sometimes stitched close again afterwards; An increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths.

Who is at risk? Procedures are mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women. In Africa, about three million girls are at risk for FGM annually. Between100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about 92 million girls’ age 10 years and above are estimated to have undergone FGM. The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among certain immigrant communities in North America and Europe.

Causes The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities. 

Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice. FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage. FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behavior, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is believed by some to reduce a woman's libido and help her resist "illicit" sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3 above), for example, a woman is physically hindered from premarital sex. Afterwards, a painful procedure is needed to reopen the closure to enable sexual intercourse. FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and "beautiful" after removal of body parts that are considered "male" or "unclean". 6


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

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Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support. Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination. Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice. In most societies, FGM is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation. In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighboring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement. In some societies, FGM is being practiced by new groups when they move into areas where the local population practices FGM.

Efforts to compact FGM : At the international level, the human rights implications of FGM/C have been broadly recognized over time. In Vienna in 1993, the UN World Conference on Human Rights called for the elimination of all forms of violence against women to be seen as a human rights obligation. “In particular, the World Conference stresses the importance of working towards the elimination of violence against women in public and private life and the eradication of any conflicts which may arise between the rights of women and the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices.” .There are many international treaties and conventions that call for an end to harmful traditional practices, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. A specific focus on FGM/C is found in UN General Assembly Resolution 56/128 on Traditional or Customary Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls, and in the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), adopted by the African Union in 2003. Many of the countries where FGM/C occurs have passed legislation prohibiting the practice, and some countries with large immigrant populations– Canada, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States – have also outlawed it. Some countries have legal clauses granting asylum to women who fear being mutilated if they return to their country of origin. For example, Section 273.3 of the Canadian Criminal Code protects children who are ordinarily resident in Canada (as citizens or landed migrants) from being removed from the country and subjected to FGM. The effects of domestic laws on FGM prevalence levels are largely understudied; as an indicator, they need to be more closely monitored. At the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in 2002, governments forged a commitment to end FGM/C by 2010. In February 2003, 30 African countries vowed to end FGM/C and called for the establishment of an International Day of Zero Tolerance. That pledge was reinforced in June of that year at the Afro-Arab Expert Consultation, who’s Cairo Declaration, highlighted the provision of existing legal tools for the prevention of FGM/C. 7


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

The Greek National plan of Action to compact female genital mutilation 2009-2012

The Greek national plan of action aims to Prevent and compact female genital mutilation in Greece, through disseminating Information, awareness, education and strengthening communities, sensitizing the medical staff in hospitals and health centers about the problem , plus taking measures at national level to protect immigrant women and girls especially the second generation born in Greece from the practice.

Overall Goals

 Prevent and eliminate female genital mutilation ((FGM) of girls who live in Greece.

 Provide support for girls and women who are at risk of FGM and those who have already been mutilate.

Identified Priorities The identified priority areas for the Greek National Action Plan against FGM are:

 The provision of healthcare for girls and women who have been circumcised  The need to raise awareness of the practice and empower communities  The need to develop a platform for informed public debate on FGM in Greece

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Target groups

     

Religious leaders. Community leaders -Communities –relevant population groups NGOs Health care professionals and other skilled people from countries that practice FGM. Professionals ( social workers , lawyers ) Politician , parliamentarians

Actors

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Religious leaders Community leaders. Health care professionals. NGOs. Governmental agencies, municipalities , Ministries Parliamentarians. Institutions research center

Objective

   

To raise Community awareness ,and provide education and empowerment for community stakeholders especially religious leaders, and community leaders To raise awareness and educate medical and health professionals. Investigate the possibility of legal action to protect the Second Generation of FGM Creation of an information line and consultancy service in Greece.

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

O Ob bjje ec cttiivve eO On ne e Raising Community awareness, and provide education and empowerment for community stakeholders especially religious leaders, and community leaders. An extensive review of interventions has shown that activities such as community awareness-raising, promotion of intergenerational dialogue, and other social mobilization activities can contribute to behavior change recognizes and that unless we have and impact upon the attitudes, beliefs and behavior of FGM practicing communities will not be possible to effect positive permanent behavior change. Target Groups   

Religious leaders Community leaders Communities – relevant population groups.

Actors Community awareness group:  Community leaders  Hellenic Sudanese friendship league  Greek forum for immigrants  United African woman organization Measures 1. Creating information materials in different languages for target communities 2. Engage with religious leaders that interact with target communities 3. Organizing lectures and discussion groups for women's and men from the target communities 4. Conduct empowerment workshops for the(girls)and women 5. Organizing events using theatrical performance.

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

O Ob bjje ec cttiivve eT To ow w To raise awareness and educate medical and health professional about female genital mutilation. Women who have undergone FGM have specific health, and care needs, particularly as they relate to childbirth. The health needs of women who have undergone FGM will differ. However they may need, regular gynecological check-ups, counseling, intensive pre-natal and post-natal care, restorative surgery, menopausal care and access to female health care workers and centers Target Groups    

Health care professionals : Doctors Midwifes Social workers

Actors Health care group:  Institute of child health  One earth.  Adviser to the Mayor’s Office on Immigration  Health municipalities and institutes. Measures 1. Creating information materials 2. Produce technical guidelines for prenatal, delivery and postpartum care for circumcised girls and women 3. Organizing series lectures at medical school, hospitals. 4. Training courses at medical school, hospitals 5. Specialized healthcare centre that provide medical care, psychological care and counseling.

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

O Ob bjje ec cttiivve eT Th hrre ee e Investigate the possibility of legal action to protect the second generation of female genital mutilation. Specific legislation serves to extinguish any doubt within the general community as to the illegality of FGM, by officially stating that the practice of FGM will not be tolerated. It also can provide legal protection and support to women and children who wish to resist the practice within their communities. Legislative action is not however without its critics. So in order for legislation to be effective, it must be accompanied by a broad and inclusive strategy for community-based education and awareness-raising Target Groups     

Politician. Lawyers. parliamentarians Decision makers Women’s NGOs.

Actors; Legal group:  International Amnesty –Greek section  Lawyers Measures 1. Research on the necessity of having a legal action to protect the second generation of FGM. 2. Creating information materials 3. Organizing series meeting with the decision makers in Greece

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

O Ob bjje ec cttiivve eF Fo ou urr Creation of an information line and consultancy service in Greece.

Target Group 

Girls and women who are at risk of FGM and those who have already been mutilated.

Measures To form an information line that can help and serve women’s and girls, and advice them.

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Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Matrix of the main features of the Plan

Objective One Raising community awareness, and provide education and Empowerment for community stakeholders.

Measures

TARGET GROUPS 1.1 Creating African information materials communities in different languages for target communities

ACTORS

1.2 Engage with religious leaders that interact with target communities

Religious leaders

Hellenic 2009 Sudanese friendship league

1.3 Organizing lectures and discussion groups for women's and men from the target communities

Women’s and girls from target communities

Community awareness group

2009 -2012

1.4 Conduct empowerment workshops for the(girls)and women

African community members

Community awareness group

2010-2012

1-5 Organizing events using theatrical performance

African communities United African Members women organization

Community awareness group

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TIME TABLE 2009

2012


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Objective Two Raising awareness and educate medical and health professional

Measures

TARGET GROUPS 2.1 Creating Medical and information materials health professionals 2.2 - Produce Medical and technical guidelines health for prenatal, delivery professionals and postpartum care for circumcised girls and women 2.3 Organizing series -Gynecologists lectures at medical -Midwifes school, hospitals 1.4 Training courses -Gynecologists at medical school, -Midwifes hospitals -Social workers

ACTORS

1.5Specialized healthcare centre that provide medical care, psychological care and counseling.

African women

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Health care group

TIME TABLE 2009

Health care group

2009

Health care group

2010 -2012

Health care group

2010-2012

Mayor of Athens

2010


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Objective Three

Investigate the possibility of legal action to protect the Second Generation of Female genital mutilation.

Measures

TARGET GROUPS

ACTORS

Research on the necessity of having a legal action to protect the second generation of female genital mutilation.

-International Amnesty –Greek section -Lawyers

TIME TABLE 2009

3.2 - Creating -politician International information materials -Lawyers Amnesty –Greek parliamentarians section -women’s NGOs

2009

2.3 Organizing series meeting with the decision makers in Greece

2010 -2012

Decision makers

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International Amnesty –Greek section


Greece National Plan of Action to Prevent and Eliminate FGM-1 Female genital mutilation

Reference material -Female genital mutilation/ cutting -UNICEF Statistical Exploration study 2005 -World health organization -Fact sheet N°241May 2008 -The national plan to prevent female genital mutilation The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs Social Services Division -Ο ΑΚΡΩΤΗΡΙΑΣΜΟΣ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΕΙΩΝ ΓΕΝΝΗΤΙΚΩΝ ΟΡΓΑΝΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΑ ΖΗΤΗΜΑΤΑ ΥΓΕΙΑΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΦΡΙΚΑΝΩΝ ΓΥΝΑΙΚΩΝ ΠΟΥ ΚΑΤΟΙΚΟΥΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΑΘΗΝΑ - 2008 -Women and Newborn Health Service – government of Western Australia department of health - www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/services/ -The Criminalization of Female Genital Mutilation www.murdoch.edu.au/elaw/issues/v9n3/spencer93_text.html

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2009 Greece National Plan of Action to prevent FGM