Sudan criminalises FGM, practitioners face three years in jail
London, May 1, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Perpetrators of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Sudan may face up to three years in jail after the country passed a law criminalising the act.
The Sudanese government approved an amendment to its criminal legislation on April 22, stating that anyone who performs FGM either inside a medical establishment or elsewhere faces three years’ imprisonment and a fine.
The law has been praised by human rights campaigners in the country, some saying it ushered in a “new era” for women’s rights in the country.
“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.”
Mohamed however warned that the law may not serve its purpose without the help of security authorities, as some perpetrators may look for ways to avoid detection.
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.
Anti-FGM campaigners said criminalization of the internationally condemned practice was a sign of the new government’s commitment towards democracy and equality.
After years of marginalization, Sudan’s women have gradually found attention in the new regime.
Currently, women have been appointed to cabinet positions of foreign affairs, youth and sports, higher education and labour and social development