Is female circumcision an indigenous practice?

Female genital mutilation as a political issue and a criminal offense

Penalty Catalog
Genital mutilationImprisonment between
1 and 15 years
... less severe caseImprisonment between
6 months and 5 years
tried genital mutilation
... mitigation (Section 49 (1) StGB) possible on
max. 3/4 of the maximum penalty

Has always been Europe shaped by extensive, ethnic diversity. Countless immigrants from all over the world also bring part of their own culture with them enrich the European culture. But not every cultural and ethnic tradition is also in line with the laws of the new European home countries or with the upholding of human rights compatible.

The Circumcision in women and girls dar, a practice that is mainly known from some African countries. The topic has in the past few years not least thanks to prominent victims like the Model Waris Dirie extensive discussions started.

The Somali woman Dirie, herself affected by the questionable circumcision rites, processes her story in the Bestseller "Desert Flower" and since then has been campaigning against female genital mutilation as a woman who has suffered from circumcision herself.

The female circumcision is clearly proven above all in African countries or in people with a corresponding origin. But: Basically, it is possible on all continents of the world Document such practices as belonging to the original tradition, at least in isolated cases - especially among indigenous peoples.

In the course of the extensive public discussion of this offense, the Politics in Germany and Europe turned - and recognized the circumcision of girls and women for what it is: one Assault with regular lifelong pain and limitations.

Genital mutilation is criminalized in other countries

Not only the western culture, also more and more African countries contact since the 1990s from the questionable tradition of circumcision for women and girls. This shows that genital mutilation is also occurring in African countries not a majority for a long time can unite more behind it.

Have among other things the following African countries the genital mutilation as well under penalty posed:

  • since 1994: Ghana
  • since 1998: Ivory Coast
  • since 1998: Tanzania
  • since 2001: Kenya
  • since 2004: Ethiopia
  • since 2005: South Africa
  • since 2008: Egypt

One has also existed in Europe for a number of years Resolution that aims to abolish and combat female genital mutilation. since 2009 the Council of Europe even has all the member states in addition Committedto prevent and punish such practices.

In some EU states there are now also national lawswho have favourited the circumcision of a woman officially criminalize, including:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Cyprus
And also Germany Has since 2013 the fact of the female Genital mutilation included in the Criminal Code (StGB) as Section 226a.

Why is only female genital mutilation a criminal offense?

In the course of the negotiations on the paragraph on genital mutilation there were countless protests especially - but not exclusively - of Jewish representatives, because In the original version, there should be no gender differentiationso that the Circumcision in men is generally a punishable offense would have stood.

The Circumcision of men is special from the Jewish culture known. This rite is more widespread. Also in Islam and parts of Christianity the tradition of circumcision is known.

However, it is different from female genital mutilation when circumcising a man not to fear lifelong pain or impairment such equality cannot work.

Because while in a man circumcision only the foreskin is partially or completely removed, it is in women by far more extensive and bloody "operations" that actually works with a risk of death due to excessive blood loss, complications, inflammation and blood poisoning - and among which those affected suffer for life.

For this reason, in the course of the negotiations on the draft law, the Restriction of the section on genital mutilation to circumcision in women met.

Section 226a of the Criminal Code - circumcision in women and girls as a criminal offense

Already the name of the new paragraph, the in force on September 28, 2013 stepped, represents in his rating the Proximity to serious bodily harm (Section 226 of the Criminal Code) here.

This form of bodily harm is based on that one particularly serious damage to health is present, which sometimes also permanent consequences for the victim means. Only bodily harm resulting in death is to be assessed more strictly in criminal law than severe according to Section 226 of the Criminal Code.

In principle, the female circumcision already fall under Section 226 of the Criminal Code. The introduction of Section 226a of the Criminal Code is, however, also considered a political statement to understand that female circumcision is explicitly punishable and calls by name. In this way, the (potential) victims should be strengthened in their position and their self-confidence. That too Sentence for the particularly perfidious mutilation and desecration of women is even against the serious bodily harmtightened.

What is the punishment for female genital mutilation?

To Section 226a (1) of the Criminal Code threatens a perpetrator who is guilty of circumcision among girls and women, at least one year imprisonment. While the penalty for serious bodily harm is limited to up to 10 years imprisonment, there is one However, there is no upper limit in the paragraph on genital mutilation.

This allows the Maximum in the case of a guilty verdict on the basis of § 226a StGB up to 15 years imprisonment threaten. The lifelong suffering to which affected women and girls are exposed is taken into account.

Specialty: By setting the minimum sentence to one year imprisonment, the mutilation of female genitals is officially as a crime according to Section 12 (1) of the Criminal Code and no longer “just” as an offenseAre defined.

In one less severe case the penalty is attached six months to five years imprisonment (Section 226a (2) of the Criminal Code).

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Female genital mutilation as a political issue and a criminal offense
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