Parliament votes to clarify Finland's FGM laws

Female genital mutilation is already prohibited in Finland, but a citizens’ initiative had called for a separate law.

The necessary bills are to be considered by Parliament during this parliamentary term. Image: Juha Tuominen / Yle

Finland’s Parliament has voted by a margin of 141 to 10 to make a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) more explicit in Finnish law.

There were no abstentions from the vote but 48 MPs were absent.

The vote calls on the government to take immediate steps towards explicitly outlining the punishments for the genital mutilation of girls and women under Finnish criminal law.

Subsequent bills will be considered by Parliament during this parliamentary term.

FGM is already a crime in Finland, as the act of genital mutilation is considered to be aggravated assault. Finnish law also prohibits taking girls living in Finland abroad for the purpose of performing the circumcision ritual.

Parliament partially supports citizens' initiative

With this vote, Parliament gave partial support to a citizens' initiative calling for the creation of a separate law to specifically ban the practice of FGM.

Parliament did not back separate legislation, but approved the idea of the citizens' initiative with amendments.

You can listen to an All Points North podcast that looks at the FGM issue via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Apple Podcasts (siirryt toiseen palveluun) or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

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Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee stated that the regulations which would clarify the law on FGM should be written into the criminal code, and not enacted as a separate law as proposed by the citizens' initiative.

The committee explained that this is because penalties for the most serious offences, such as the threat of imprisonment, are already provided for by Finnish criminal law.

The committee’s report also contained two objections related to the non-medical circumcision of boys.