Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-09-19-Speech-3-129"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the importance and originality of this courageous report, in comparison with the countless reports and documents adopted by many international bodies, is that, unambiguously and without making any hypocritical concessions, it views the question of female genital mutilation as an issue of freedom, dignity, law and human rights for hundreds, thousands of women in the world. I hope that Mrs Valenciano Martínez-Orozco has the support of all of us here. She does not make any hypocritical concessions to supposed respect for traditions or cultural relevatism, which we hear talked about so often, nor does she make any concessions even to the cheap efforts to salve our consciences which so often characterise the positions we adopt. Indeed, while emphasising in the report that female genital mutilation is a crime, which must therefore be prosecuted, she proposes a raft of pro-active measures which it will also be our responsibility and the responsibility of the other institutions – Commission and Council – to implement. I would, however, like to make one point to Mrs Avilés Perea, for whom I have great admiration. You presented to us a situation which does not exist, saying that it would be inappropriate to establish the threat of female genital mutilation as grounds for the right of asylum because that would be to open our doors to millions of women seeking protection. You see, Mrs Avilés Perea, if there were millions of women and children who were able to revolt, to come out into the open and flee family, social and male control, then the problem would already be resolved. Therefore, the situation must be different: sadly, there are not hundreds of thousands or millions of children and women who currently have the chance to revolt, to come out into the open, to go and knock on the door of an embassy to seek asylum. We are in a situation in which there are very few indeed who have the courage to do this, and to think about closing the door even on these few – and I beg you once again to consider this – is not responsible. We would not be doing our duty. We would be back in a situation of preaching empty sermons, of cheap efforts to assuage our consciences, of failing to assume responsibilities that our ours, that are the responsibilities of this free, civil, democratic Europe which upholds the rights of all. This, I believe, is what we are trying to say in our report tomorrow: we want to say that we are for a world in which human beings are all equal. I am convinced that, if such a brutal form of mutilation as this had been forced upon our male fellow Members, the issue would have been resolved long ago. The problem is that this is not yet the way in which the world works and it is our responsibility, the responsibility of this institution, to set an example. Lastly – and I am addressing the Members who are also part of the Committee on Development and Cooperation – today, I have a meeting with the Secretary General of the ACP Secretariat, Ambassador Goulongana, who has declared himself willing to include this matter in the forthcoming meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Assembly in Brussels at the end of October. I know that the agendas are fixed and that it may be too late to make changes, but there must also be an element of political interest in all this that will ensure that some flexibility preserved in this rigid climate! There must be a difference which we can use to our advantage! I hope that the ACP-EU Joint Assembly will approve our position as well as this House. Ladies, I would remind all of you who are hesitating that there are very few women – very few indeed – who have the chance, the courage and indeed the good fortune to be able to revolt."@en1

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