HL Deb 04 December 1995 vol 567 cc63-4WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of their commitment at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing to the elimination of violence against women and the signature of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, what steps they are taking to eliminate female genital mutilation in countries where it is still prevalent; and what they have spent abroad in the last three years to that end.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey:

We are prepared to support activities directed at the elimination of female genital mutilation wherever these are likely to be effective. Apart from supporting the work of women's organisations which seek to educate communities and strengthen laws against female genital mutilation, we are expressing our view in wider dialogue with relevant governments.

Opportunities for substantial spending in developing countries have not yet emerged, and the most influential activities may not require large expenditure. The sum of £37,000 has been provided to support conferences and research and we are currently considering another proposal. Our general support to projects for women's empowerment contributes indirectly to reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation.