19 August 2016, 15:44

Bill on punishment for female circumcision brought into State Duma

A bill, submitted today to the State Duma of Russia, envisages 5-10 years in prison for female circumcision, committed on religious grounds.

On August 15 the "Legal Initiative for Russia" (LIfR) posted on its website the outcomes of its study of the practice of female circumcision widespread in Dagestan. The report states that in Dagestan the practice of female genital mutilation, practiced with the support of the official clergy and considered by the republic's population as a religious duty. Rights defenders have proposed to criminalize the female circumcision and to organize a broad public debate of the issue.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that the Human Rights Council (HRC) under the President of Russia has promised to deal with the problem of female circumcision in the Caucasus. Anita Soboleva, a member of the HRC, the chair of the Standing Committee on Social Rights, has spoken against the practice of female circumcision. The above practice was also criticized by the Russian Ministry of Public Health (MPH), and the General Prosecutor's Office promised to check the legality of the practice of female circumcision in Northern Caucasus.

The bill criminalizing female circumcision was initiated by MP Maria Maksakova-Igenbergs, the RBC reports.

The bill suggest to complement Article 136 (violation of equality of rights and freedoms of human and citizen) of the Russian Criminal Code with Part 2 as follows: "Discrimination against women on religious grounds, expressed in the partial or total removal of external genitalia, justified by the demands of a religious cult, shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of five to seven years”.

The explanatory note to the bill notes that Russia, according to Article 14 of the Constitution is a secular state, and "no sacral cults may justify female circumcision, because by doing so, certain individual dogmas are put by their followers above the basic law of the country, which is unique and same for all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs." "Such interference is nothing but a form of mutilation, based on discrimination by gender," the bill further stresses.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

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