Criminal Enforcement in the Area of Female Genital Mutilation in France, England and the Netherlands: A Comparative Law Perspective

Renée Kool, Sohail Wahedi


The criminal justice system in Western countries is ever more frequently facing the question of how to deal with immigrants’ cultural practices, such as honour killings, blood revenges and female circumcision, better known as ‘Female Genital Mutilation’, that are considered to be in violation of human rights. Especially practicing Female Genital Mutilation has been subjected to an intense debate in the last four decades. This debate culminated provisionally in the recently adopted resolution by the United Nations, which calls upon its member states to eliminate this practice. Despite such calls, the results of criminal enforcement in banning this practice diverge in many countries. This raise the question whether national views on citizenship and multiculturalism may offer an explanation for the divergent enforcement practices in the area of Female Genital Mutilation. This study pays in particular attention to the way France, England and the Netherlands have criminalised Female Genital Mutilation and whether the results of their legal approaches in banning this practice by using criminal law, can be declared from their particular notions of citizenship.

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International Law Research  ISSN 1927-5234  (Print)  ISSN 1927-5242  (Online)  Email:

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