In 1997, Parliament passed Bill C-27. The preamble explains that “…the Parliament of Canada has grave concerns regarding violence against women and children and, in particular…female genital mutilation….[and]…believes that a clear statement that the criminal law of Canada applies to the practice of female genital mutilation will facilitate ongoing educational efforts in this area.”
The Criminal Code section on aggravated assault (s. 268), now contains the following:
(3) For greater certainty, in this section, “wounds” or “maims” includes to excise, infibulate or mutilate, in whole or in part, the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of a person, except where
(a) a surgical procedure is performed, by a person duly qualified by provincial law to practise medicine, for the benefit of the physical health of the person or for the purpose of that person having normal reproductive functions or normal sexual appearance or function; or
(b) the person is at least eighteen years of age and there is no resulting bodily harm.
Canadian law protects the bodily integrity of female children and women by criminalizing female genital cutting. Male and intersex children are explicitly and deliberately excluded from this protection of the law. They continue to be subjected to non-consensual, non-therapeutic genital cutting.
A growing number of Canadians, including physicians, nurses, and lawyers, have recognized that all children—female, male, and intersex—deserve the right to bodily integrity and ought to be protected from forced, medically unnecessary, non-consensual genital cutting. The Children’s Health & Human Rights Partnership has resources available for families in conflict over genital cutting.
Please join in sharing your legal knowledge and expertise with the Children’s Health & Human Rights Partnership, so that together, we can uphold the rights of all children.