Belgium – According to current Belgian law, only the implementers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are punished, although there are many people actively promoting it. In July, Belgian AWEPA Political Coordinator for the FGM/C programme, Senator Els van Hoof, made a proposal for a change in the Belgian law. Her plea is to make the promotion of FGM a punishable offence with imprisonment ranging from 8 days to a year, depending on the extent of the offense. She warned that statistically, the holidays have proven to be the period when young girls are most susceptible to being circumcised, during visits to their parents’ countries of originate from. According to a study made by the European Institute for Gender Equality, 6,260 victims of FGM live in Belgium, whilst another 1,975 girls and women run the risk of becoming a victim. Hon. van Hoof wants the proposal put on the agenda of the Senates Commission for Justice after recess, so that it may be voted through before the forthcoming elections.
In March 2013, Hon. van Hoof attended an AWEPA national parliamentary workshop on FGM/C abandonment and sensitisation activity in the Kolda region to raise awareness of the newly elected Parliament on the issue of FGM/C and to sensitise local communities.