Sudan criminalises female genital mutilation, as campaigners welcome a ‘new era’ for women’s rights in the country

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Almost nine out of 10 women and girls in predominately Muslim Sudan have undergone FGM, United Nations data show. The procedure usually involves the partial or total removal of the female genitalia and can cause a host of health problems.

The Sudanese government approved an amendment to its criminal legislation on 22 April, stating that anyone who performs FGM either inside a medical establishment or elsewhere faces three years’ imprisonment and a fine.Female Sudanese demonstrators make the peace gesture as they arrive for the sit-in protest outside Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan last April
Women’s rights groups said the punishment would help to end FGM, but warned it would be difficult to change minds in communities that view the traditional practice as necessary to marry their daughters.
‘FGM prevalence in Sudan is one of the highest globally. It is now time to use punitive measures to ensure girls are protected from this torturous practice,’ said Faiza Mohamed, Africa regional director for Equality Now.
‘Having a law against FGM acts as an important deterrent, however, Sudan may face challenges in enforcing legislation. People who still believe in the practice might not report cases or act to stop FGM when they know it is happening.’
Communities may look for ways to avoid detection, while officials who believe in the practice may not uphold the law, warned Mohamed.
An estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM, which is practised in at least 27 African countries and parts of Asia and the Middle East. Girls can bleed to death or die from infections, while FGM can also cause fatal childbirth complications later, say health experts. In Sudan, more than three-quarters of procedures are conducted by nurses, midwives or other medical personnel, says anti-FGM campaign group 28 Too Many…readmore

Source: Daily Mail

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