Finland’s new Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, Annika Saarikko, has called for legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation (FGM), in line with all other Nordic countries.

Speaking on Finland’s Yle current affairs TV programme A-studio on August 7, Saarikko said: “I think we should consider whether female genital mutilation should be criminalised in Finland as it in the other Nordic countries. I think that would be good”.

At present the practice is prosecuted under Finnish law as a form of assault.

According to the World Health Organisation, FGM remains a tradition among people from 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It notes that the practice, typically performed on girls under age 16, can cause severe health problems or even death, and is a human rights violation.