FGM in New Zealand

Is FGM practiced in New Zealand?

There is no documented evidence that FGM is practiced in New Zealand. However, New Zealand has a growing number of refugees and migrants from countries that practice FGM, and many of these women have already undergone FGM. The main groups affected by FGM in New Zealand are Ethiopian, Somali, Egyptian, Eritrean, Sudanese and some Muslim Indonesian groups.


Is FGM legal in New Zealand?

In January 1996 the Government made the practice of FGM illegal under an amendment to The Crimes Act (section 204A) 1961. The Act states that it is illegal law to perform "any medical or surgical procedure or mutilation of the vagina or clitoris of any person" for reasons of "culture, religion, custom or practice".

This means it is against the law to:

It is against the law to perform FGM even if the woman or girl wants it to be done.


Is it illegal to send a child overseas for the procedure?

Yes, the law states that it is illegal to:


What happens if someone performs FGM?

If someone performs FGM, they are breaking the law and may be imprisoned for up to seven years. The punishment occurs whether the person performs the procedure, helps, or gets someone else to perform FGM.


Why is FGM illegal in New Zealand?

FGM is illegal because the New Zealand Government believes that it is harmful to the health of women and girls.

New Zealand is also a signatory to the following International Instruments and conventions that encourage and oblige action against FGM:

  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25).
  2. The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (Articles 2f, 5a,12).
  3. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 2, 19.2, 24.1, 37a, 24.3).