Call to end female genital mutilation in Scotland

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Scottish Labour MSP Jenny Marra called for the Scottish government to create an "action plan" to limit the risk of women and girls to the "torture" of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Ms Marra also called for the government's assessment of the scale of FGM in Scotland to be completed quickly.

She said "our laws have failed these children and we must now rededicate ourselves to making them work", during a member's debate entitled International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on 5 February 2014.

An estimated 140m girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM.

FGM takes different forms but traditionally involves the full or partial removal of young girls' genitals for non-medical reasons such as faith or tradition.

In many areas girls are cut to improve their marriage prospects with the practice most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East.

Ms Marra expressed concern that with approximately 3,000 women and girls at risk from FGM in Scotland, there had not been one single police report, prosecution or conviction despite renewed legislation passed by the Parliament in 2005.

The member for North East Scotland described Scotland as having a "woeful record on enforcing the law".

Scottish government minister Shona Robison agreed FGM "is a form of child abuse because children are not in a position to make a choice, it is forced upon them, and it is a brutal practice".

Ms Robison pledged FGM would be part of the wider Scotland's Strategy to Tackle Violence against Women which is due to be published in summer 2014.

The minister also appealed to medical professionals, teachers, social workers and the police to play a "crucial role" in ending FGM.

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