The European Union is committed to eradicating female genital mutilation. The foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Sunday said that this practice is an "exceptionally brutal crime".
"This is an opportunity to remind the world that the European Union condemns this abhorrent practice that severely violates the human rights and dignity of hundreds of thousands women and girls," Ashton said in a joint statement with the EU's human rights commissioner Viviane Reding marking the International Day against Female Genital Mutilation.
With between 100 and 140 million women and girls having undergone FGM worldwide, the practice is now an issue for western nations because of immigration, according to the International Organization for Migration.
"We believe that it is our duty to protect girls and women from the risk of mutilation and to alleviate the pain of women who live with the horrific physical and mental scars from female genital mutilation," the EU statement said, adding the bloc needed to promote measures to help eradicate the practice and protect its victims.