Female genital mutilation
In Belgium, any form of female genital mutilation is forbidden by law. A person who performs female genital mutilation, helps to make it possible or promotes it (being an accomplice), can be punished with 3 to 5 years’ imprisonment. Female genital mutilation is forbidden by law even if the girl gives consent. Parents who take their daughter to another country to perform female genital mutilation can be punished in Belgium.
Punishment may be more severe if the girl is younger than 18 years of age. This is considered as child abuse.
Depending on the severity of the female genital mutilation, you can still file a complaint 5 or 10 years after you become 18 years of age. You can file a complaint even if you were a child when you were a victim of female genital mutilation. This is not affected by the number of years before your 18th birthday that you were a victim.
Nearly all African countries already have a national law to forbid female genital mutilation. However, it is not always applied.
In Belgium, you can request asylum for female genital mutilation if:
- you or your daughter are at risk of female genital mutilation;
- you have undergone female genital mutilation and fear further mutilation.
If you are living in Belgium without legal residence status you can also apply for asylum on these grounds, even if you sought asylum before for another reason.
If you are a victim of female genital mutilation or fear that you will become a victim of it, you can contact a specialised organisation for help.