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Nurs Ethics. 2001 May;8(3):247-58.

Nurses and requests for female genital mutilation: cultural rights versus human rights.

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  • 1Scientific Institute San Raffaele, University VitaSalute, Via Olgettina, 58-Dibit, 20132 Milan, Italy.


In this article we focus on female genital mutilation. We analyse this problem as one of the most important issues of multiculturalism, which is also coming to the attention of the public in Italy as a consequence of the growing number of immigrants from African countries. The fundamental problem is about the acceptability of this practice: can female genital mutilation be permitted and, if so, on what basis? We will try to cope with this as a genuine conflict between culture-relative values and universal values, such as human rights. Some attention will be drawn to Italian law. Finally, the impact on nurses of requests for genital mutilation will be described.

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