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Progress made on Female Genital Mutilation legislation

5 December 2019

Parliament yesterday completed the First Reading of a Bill to clarify the law around Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The Crimes (Definition of Female Genital Mutilation) Amendment Bill is now referred to the Health Committee and the public can expect to be able to make submissions as part of the select committee process.

FGM is one of the most important sexual and reproductive rights issues impacting women globally, with 200 million women and girls affected worldwide, and an estimated 3 million girls at risk of undergoing the practice every year.

While most forms of FGM were banned in New Zealand with the passing of the original Act, this amendment will align the legislation with standard World Health Organisation (WHO) classifications of types of FGM and international best practice recommendations.

Co-Chairs of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians New Zealand Group, Jo Hayes and Louisa Wall, encouraged the public to make submissions if they support the Bill - which has been sponsored by MPs from the Labour, National, Green and NZ First Parties - or if they have concerns.

“We know that the Bill has the support of the FGM Education Programme and key communities affected by FGM in New Zealand, but if anyone has concerns, it’s important that these are aired.

“That said, we hope that everyone will see the value of removing any doubt about what constitutes FGM, as a step towards ensuring its complete eradication as a cultural process that harms women and girls.”

Information on making a submission can be found on Parliament’s website:

NEED HELP? If you need help or would like further information please contact, or refugees as survivors (09) 270 0870.


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