Christa Muller

Presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Sexual Mutilations,
University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9-11, 1996.

The circumcision of boys or men is neither very common in Germany nor is it discussed in public. The subject of female genital mutilation was hardly known in Germany, and only during the last two years has the public become more and more aware of the problem. Compared to other west European countries, there is still a great lack of consciousness in view of this human rights violation. This applies to both to the situation in Germany and the situation around world. During the next years it will be necessary to inform the population about female genital mutilation in other countries and to encourage people to fight against it, and especially to give money to support women's organizations in Africa. Moreover, publicity must be produced about the problem within Germany: about twenty thousand immigrant women are affected. It is thought that female genital mutilation is even practiced in Germany, but no case has been proved up to now. The German government must be forced to fight female genital mutilation within Germany and by means of its development policies also in Africa. In Germany, we are still at the beginning.

[The complete paper is published in Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy, New York: Plenum Press, 1997 (ISBN 0-306-45589-7).]

Christa Muller received diplomas in both Political Economics and Business Management. Her professional experience includes work with the Parliament of the State of Hessen, the Government of the State of Hessen, the Social Democratic Party of Germany and, since 1990, with the Department of Economics and Employment of the Research Institute of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. While visiting the West African state of Benin with her husband, Oskar Lafontaine, Governor of the State of Saarland and President of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Ms. Muller, was asked by the wife of the former President whether should could support the Benin women in their fight against female genital mutilation. She agreed. Back in Germany, she founded (I)NTACT, an organization aimed at informing German people about female genital mutilation and collecting money to support the African groups. (I)NTACT also fights against female genital mutilation in Germany, as far as it is known.

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