Third world countries that refuse to ban FGM could be stripped of their right to receive European Union Development Aid. Anna Diamantopoulou the EU’s Greek Commissioner gave an impassioned speech at the European parliamentary hearing in which she proposed that aid to recipient countries be “contingent on their commitment to fight the practice of female genital mutilation via legislation and education”.
(Guardian 30th November 2000)
Response from the chair:
Legislation is a useful tool for abolishing FGM, but legislation does not necessarily translate into education and compliance. Where legislation is used as grounds for aid, it will result in laws being introduced without any support mechanisms for implementation. Communities may be forced to continue the practice illegally. If this policy were to be enforced, it would prove to be a very contentious issue and would rather harm women and children. It would be better if EU aid were used to form a broad strategy for social change with education sensitisation and support for NGOs at the forefront of the campaign.