Assita Kanko

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Assita Kanko
Member of the European Parliament for Belgium
Assumed office
2 July 2019
ConstituencyDutch-speaking electoral college
Member of the Ixelles City Council
In office
14 October 2012 – 14 October 2018
Personal details
Assita Adoua Kanko

(1980-07-14) 14 July 1980 (age 43)
Godyr, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso)
  • Belgium
  • Burkina Faso
Political partyNew Flemish Alliance (2018–present)
Other political
Mouvement Réformateur (2012–2018)
Alma materJM International
OccupationJournalist, politician, human rights activist

Assita Adoua Kanko (born 14 July 1980) is a Burkinabè-born Belgian journalist, human rights activist and politician who was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 2019 representing the New Flemish Alliance.[1]


Early life and education[edit]

Kanko was born in Godyr, Burkina Faso in 1980 to a Muslim family. She underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) as a child and has since campaigned for the practice to be banned. Kanko has also worked with the AHA Foundation founded by Ayaan Hirsi Ali to combat FGM, forced marriages and human rights abuses.[2]

After the murder of the influential Burkina Faso journalist Norbert Zongo in 1998, she studied journalism and became a human rights activist.[3] Kanko moved to the Netherlands in 2001 to study journalism and settled in Brussels in 2004. She became a Belgian citizen in 2008.[4]

Political career[edit]

Kanko was elected as a municipal councillor in Ixelles for the French speaking Mouvement Réformateur in 2012.[4][5] In 2018, she joined the Dutch speaking New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party, stating that she supported the policies of the N-VA's migration spokesman Theo Francken and that stronger policies were needed to tackle human trafficking and illegal immigration.[5]

Kanko was elected to the European Parliament on the N-VA's list in 2019 and currently sits as a Vice-Chairwoman on the European Conservatives and Reformists group. In view of the apparent withdrawal of the United States from certainwhich ones? global political issues, she supports a more active role of the European Union and assumes that if not, China would attempt to fill the void. In her role as an MEP she has also advocated for issues facing the African continent and called for increased cooperation in coordinating medical provisions for African nations during the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

In 2023, Kanko has supported Ukraine during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and was critical of the EU's response, arguing the Union "woke up too late" to the problem and "took peace for granted." She argued against neutrality with Russian president Putin and supports sending surplus military equipment to Ukrainian forces, stating "If I were Bambi, unarmed, why would I negotiate peace with a lion? I would see peace, but the lion would only see a meal."[7]

In 2023, an investigation was opened against Kanko, following complaints about her intimidating her parliamentary staff. This investigation was closed due to insufficient proof.[8][9]

Following the 2023 Hamas attack, Kanko called for Hamas to be "dismantled" during a speech in the European Parliament and argued the West should "not be naive about radical Islam."[10]

In March 2024, Kanko was one of twenty MEPs to be given a "Rising Star" award at The Parliament Magazine's annual MEP Awards[11]

In addition to her political work, Kanko has also been active as an author (see Bibliography), as an advisor to companies on how to best implement Sustainable Development Goals, and as a columnist for De Standaard.[12]

Kanko has described herself as a women's rights activist and founded an organisation called Polin to encourage equal opportunities and more female involvement in politics.[12] She has spoken of the importance of defending European Enlightenment values, having responsible immigration policies and has argued for the stronger integration of immigrants into both European and Western society instead of pursueing multiculturalism.[2][5]


  • Omdat je een meisje bent. Verhaal van een besneden leven (Because you are a girl. Story of a circumcised life) s.l. : Doorbraak, 2019
  • Leading ladies: maak je ambities waar (Leading ladies: realize your ambitions) Tielt: Lannoo, 2018
  • De tweede helft. Tijd voor een nieuw feminisme (The second half. Time for a new feminism) [Tielt] : Lannoo, 2015[13]

Personal life[edit]

Kanko is married, has one daughter (born 2008) and lives in Brussels.[12]


  1. ^ "Far-right and far-left gains in Belgian European Parliament elections". 27 May 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Survivor of FGM, Assita Kanko, Fights for Human Rights for Everyone". AHA Foundation. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  3. ^ Alleen Elvis blijft bestaan - Assita Kanko | VRT NU (in Dutch), retrieved 14 December 2019
  4. ^ a b "Assita Kanko: 'Almost ten years Belgian and I am still waiting for the party'". 15 January 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Assita Kanko opts for the N-VA". 14 December 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  6. ^ Hutchinson, Lorna (29 June 2020). "Assita Kanko: Delivering value through action". The Parliament Magazine. Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Europe's military support for Ukraine: Has the EU risen to the occasion?". France 24. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2023.
  8. ^ "Harassment claims hit Belgian MEP Kanko". Politico. 25 May 2023. Retrieved 25 May 2023.
  9. ^ "Intimidatieklacht tegen Europees Parlementslid Assita Kanko (N-VA) geseponeerd". 28 July 2023.
  10. ^ @assita_kanko (18 January 2023). "We must unequivocally condemn Hamas' brutal terrorist attack on Israeli civilians on 7 October 2023, which triggered the current crisis situation" – via Instagram.
  11. ^ "MEP Awards 2024 - The Rising Stars". The Parliament Magazine. 21 March 2024. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  12. ^ a b c "Assita Kanko". Retrieved 31 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Assita Kanko". (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 December 2023.

External links[edit]

Media related to Assita Kanko at Wikimedia Commons