Generalisation of female genital mutilation in Somalians

The petitioner is Ms. S.M.A., a national of Somalia, who is currently residing in Denmark.

The radio broadcasted a discussion between Ms. Pia Kjærsgaard, Member of the Parliament and former leader of the Danish People’s Party, and Mr. Søren Espersen, another member of the Parliament for the Danish People’s Party. The petitioner claims that the accusations made by statements in the discussion are false as there is no proof that Somali parents in Denmark practice female genital mutilation against their daughters. She claims that the comparison of Somalis with paedophiles by Ms. Pia Kjærsgaard was offensive and Mr. Espersen endorsed it fully.

The petitioner, with the help of the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination (DRC), complained to the police, but with the consent of the Regional Prosecutor the police rejected the complaint. The Director of the Public Prosecution dismissed the complaint and stated that neither the petitioner nor DRC had a right to appeal the decision by the Regional Prosecutor, as the petitioner did not have individual and legal interest in the case.

The complaint was sent to Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Committee considers that Mr. Espersen’s public support of the earlier statement by Ms. Kjærsgaard’s, and his statement that most Somalis carry out genital female mutilation as something quite natural, were perceived as offensive.

The Committee concluded that the State party had failed to carry out an effective investigation to determine whether or not an act of racial discrimination had taken place. The committee recommends that the State party should grant the petitioner adequate compensation for the moral injury caused by the above-mentioned violations of the Convention. The State party is also requested to give wide publicity to the Committee’s opinion, including among prosecutors and judicial bodies.

24. March 2020

CERD 43/2008
  • Decision: 21. September 2010
  • Comm: Race