Clause 3 - Offence of assisting a non-UK person to mutilate overseas a girl's genitalia

Female Genital Mutilation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 25th June 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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The clause creates a new offence. Subsection (1) makes it an offence for a person in the UK to aid, abet, counsel or procure the performance outside the UK of a relevant act of FGM that is carried out by a person who is not a UK national or permanent UK resident. Without that provision, it would be an offence for a person in the UK, a UK national, or permanent UK resident outside the UK to aid, abet, counsel or procure an FGM operation outside the UK only if the operation were carried out by a UK national or permanent UK resident. If an operation is carried out abroad, that is unlikely to be the case, so we need to make specific provision for operations carried out abroad by foreign nationals.

By virtue of subsection (2), the offence applies only when the victim is a UK national or permanent UK resident. Restricting the clause to victims who are UK nationals or permanent UK residents increases the connection to the UK. Without such a restriction, we would be making it an offence to assist an FGM operation carried out abroad by a person who has no connection to the UK on a victim who has no connection to the UK. It is right that all children should be protected from FGM, whatever their nationality or residency, but it does not necessarily fall to, nor is it possible for, the UK to legislate to protect all victims outside our own jurisdiction.

Subsection (3) ensures that the exception for necessary surgical operations, which applies for the purposes of clause 1, also applies to clause 3.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.