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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Female circumcision law extended
Woman with scissors
Female circumcision remains widespread in parts of the world
Legislation to close a loophole in the law banning female circumcision has been passed by MSPs.

Westminster made it illegal in 2003 to aid and abet genital mutilation, even if it is carried out overseas.

The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill extends that to cover the children of asylum seekers and other non-UK citizens.

Holyrood also increased the penalty for carrying out the procedure from five to 14 years.

The move, which is known as extra-territorial jurisdiction, is extremely rare.

I am determined that no girl in Scotland will suffer this mutilation
Hugh Henry
Deputy Justice Minister

It makes it illegal for any person in Scotland or any UK national overseas to aid the mutilation of a girl, regardless of her status or what country she is in.

The new law will also give stronger protection to the daughters of asylum seekers as well as foreign students and people with humanitarian protection living in Scotland.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry said: "Female genital mutilation is horrific.

"I and other members of this parliament have been shocked to find out what can happen.

"I am determined that no girl in Scotland will suffer this mutilation."

There has been no known case of girls being sent abroad from Scotland for the procedure.

Female circumcision was first outlawed in Britain in 1985, but is still common in some parts of Africa.




SEE ALSO:
Circumcision move secures support
03 May 05 |  Scotland
MSPs told of circumcision fears
14 Dec 04 |  Scotland
'I had female circumcision'
13 May 04 |  Health


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