Female Genital Mutilation Becomes Punishable by Law in Georgia
The government of Georgia approved a package of amendments directed against domestic violence and violence towards women on Tuesday, according to which female genital mutilation (FGM) will be punishable by law in Georgia.
The package of amendments, applied to more than twenty laws, was prepared by the Ministry of Justice and aims at bringing Georgian legislation in line with the provisions of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which Georgia signed in 2014 and which is now ready for ratification.
Following approval by the government, article 133will be added to the criminal code, codifying criminalization of female genital mutilation. This means that female circumcision or coercion of a woman to undergo FGM under religious, ethnic, national or other traditions, will become punishable in Georgia.
A similar act against a pregnant, disabled or underage woman will be considered an aggravating circumstance.
Moreover, punishment will be tightened for stalking, forced sterilization and domestic violence.
Information about the existence of FGM in some Kakheti villages populated by the ethnic Avar community was initially released by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in November 2016.
IWPR reported that when boys are circumcised, they are taken to the district hospital where a surgeon operates on them. However, for girls, the procedure is usually done at home.
The article also said the female circumcision is dangerous and represents a gross violation of human rights.
After the article was published, Georgia’s Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, also began studying the situation.
Representatives of the Ombudsman went to visit the mentioned villages and confirmed the existence of such practices among Avars.
Afterwards, the government initiated the amendments to the law which were approved by the government on January 24.
The proposed amendments will be voted on by parliament and, if approved, the changes will take immediate effect.
By Thea Morrison
Photo: Stop FGM. Source: elizabethbeattie.co