FGM: the Belgian government must ensure respect for the human rights of women in precarious situations

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), GAMS Belgium calls on the Belgian government to respect human rights, by taking measures to support the women affected who are in precarious situations. 

Precarious situations and violence

They have been denied asylum, they have come for family reunification and have lost their right of residence by leaving a violent husband, they are transmigrants trying to reach the United Kingdom, or they are in Dublin procedure without right to material aid, … These women’s paths all lead to precariousness, with difficulties in meeting the most basic needs: housing, food, medical care…

Women in precarious situation are confronted with different types of gender-based violence. Their status makes it almost impossible to prevent it or to obtain adequate support.  Many  have undergone female genital mutilation and do not have access to appropriate care.

Need for a structural solution

What they need is a structural response. GAMS Belgium is calling for accommodation for women who have experienced violence without status conditions, and free access to specialised support services.

Women living with FGM who are in situation of great precariousness cannot even afford to buy a bus ticket to come to our offices. So, we decided to go and meet them.  We are present at the humanitarian hub in Brussels and we meet women in pairs (a social worker and a community animator). We are going to develop the same approach in Liège. We have developed videos in the women’s languages to inform them of their rights“, says Fabienne Richard, director of GAMS Belgium and FGM referent midwife.

Currently, if a woman on the street needs a specialist medical examination at CeMAViE (medical centre for the victims of excision) at St Pierre University Hospital, GAMS Belgium pays for her consultation. Fabienne Richard deplores the fact that “non-profit organisations find themselves having to make up for the shortcomings of the State, even though the most basic human rights are being violated.”

Links

  1. GAMS Belgium’s political demands
  2. Videos for women affected by FGM (in Amharic and Trigrinya, both with Dutch and French subtitles) :


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