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  • FGM still is practiced in at least 27 African countries as well as Asia and the Middle East.

    FGM still is practiced in at least 27 African countries as well as Asia and the Middle East. | Photo: AFP/ Ashraf Shazly

Published 10 July 2020
Opinion

The draft law criminalizing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), had been previously approved by the cabinet on April.

Sudan's Sovereign Council, the highest ruling institution in the country, ratified on Friday a law criminalizing female genital mutilation (FGM).

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The Justice Minister, Nasredeen Abdulbari, announced on his twitter account that a series of laws had been finally approved by the council, among them, the amendment to the Criminal Law article 141.

The draft law, which criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), had been previously approved by the cabinet in April. It establishes a possible three-year prison term and a fine to those who perform FGM.

According to United Nations, 9 out of 10 Sudanese women have suffered genital cutting, in the way of removing the inner and outer labia as well as the clitoris, this being a public ritual across the nation.

"The Human Rights and Justice System Reform Commission Act 2020, the Diversity (Fundamental Rights and Freedoms) Act 2020, the Cyber ​​Crime Prevention (Amendment) Act 2020, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) 2020 have been signed."

The practice can cause urinary tract infections, uterine infections, kidney infections, cysts, reproductive issues, and pain during sex.

As the movement to eliminate this harmful practice grows, FGM still is practiced in at least 27 African countries as well as Asia and the Middle East.

However, many of those countries have legislation to tackle the practice somehow. Still, experts have warned that enacting such laws is not enough since, in several places, FGM is embedded within religious beliefs and culture.

Nevertheless, the amendment is aimed at radically restricting such practices as doctors or health workers who perform FGM would be penalized. On the other hand, hospitals, clinics, or other places where the procedure was carried out would be shut down. 

"It is an important step on the way to judicial reform and to achieve the slogan of the revolution - freedom, peace, and justice," tweeted Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

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