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Female Genital Mutation Now Outlawed in Sudan

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Photo : Reuters/Claudio Accheri)A group of women attends a meeting organised by Somaliland Family Health Association (SOFA) in Sanani, Somaliland on June 30, 2019.

Sudan outlawed female genital mutilation in April. Campaigners said that this move will herald a “new era” for recognizing women’s rights in the African nation.

According to UNICEF, within an amendment to criminal legislation, the government of Sudan imposed 3 years of prison time and a fine on individuals who perform female genital mutilation.

United Nations data showed that almost 9 out of 10 women and girls in prime Muslim Sudan have undertaken the procedure.

According to Sudan’s representative for the UN’s body for children’s issues UNICEF, which has been relatively regular in segments of Sudanese society, pains young girls and must end.

“This practice is not only a violation of every girl child’s rights, it is harmful and has serious consequences for a girl’s physical and mental health,” said Abdullah Fadil in a statement.

The UN said that some 87% of Sudanese women between the ages of 14 and 49 have undertaken forms of FGM.

It is regular in Sudan for women to get the inner and outer labia, and often the clitoris, removed.

The criminalization followed the transitional Government approving the landmark draft law.

The law is still yet to be ratified by a joint meeting of the sovereign council, which assumed power after longtime President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown last year, and the Cabinet.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement said that the action was part of the government’s obligation to international human rights agreements.

Sudan is one of the world’s most-affected nations of FGM.

The new law was approved by the council of ministers on 22nd of April but is still yet to be passed by sovereign council members, which was drafted after the former dictator Omar al-Bashir’s ousting.

According to Amira Azhary, from the National Council for Child Welfare and a campaigner for the Saleema initiative, which advocates for an end to the practice, said, “We expect that the law will be passed by the sovereign council and if that happens, it will be an expression of the political will in this country.”

However, some activists caution the practice could be difficult to eradicate in a nation where it is so deep-seated in the culture.

The World Health Organization (WHO) explained female genital mutilation (FGM) as involving “the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” It added that the act has no health benefits for women and girls.

“Happy news!” wrote UNICEF on Twitter.

In 1946, Sudan enacted the most severe forms of FGM illegal, but enforcement of the law was scarce.

A recent report surmised that female genital mutilation is a regular practice in over 90 countries.

Women’s and children’s rights campaigners honored the move but cautioned much work would be required to certify that the law would be implemented properly.

 

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