Government of Sudan has crimalised the practice of female genital mutilation.
The new step taken by the ruling authority is best described as a major victory by women’s rights campaigners in a country where the often dangerous practice is widespread.
According to UN’s estimation, nearly nine in 10 Sudanese women have been subjected to the most invasive form of the practice, which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and leads to health and sexual problems that can be fatal.
As the situation stands now in Sudan, anyone who performs female genital mutilation faces a possible three-year prison term and a fine under an amendment to Sudan’s criminal code approved last week by the country’s transitional government, which came to power only last year following the ouster of longtime dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
“This is a massive step for Sudan and its new government,” said Nimco Ali of the Five Foundation, an organization that campaigns for an end to genital mutilation globally.
“Africa cannot prosper unless it takes care of girls and women. They are showing this government has teeth.”
“The law will help protect girls from this barbaric practice and enable them to live in dignity,” said Salma Ismail, a spokeswoman in Khartoum for the United Nations Children’s Fund.
“And it will help mothers who didn’t want to cut their girls, but felt they had no choice, to say ‘no.’”