Sudan criminalises female genital mutilation (FGM)

Sudan has criminalised carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM), making it punishable by three years in jail.

Some 87% of Sudanese women aged between 14 and 49 have undergone some form of FGM, according to the UN.

In Sudan it is common for women to get the inner and outer labia, and usually the clitoris, removed.

FGM can result in urinary tract infections, uterine infections, kidney infections, cysts, reproductive issues and pain during sex.

Girls get cut because of a widespread cultural belief that it is essential for girls’ reputations and future marriage prospects.

But there has been a global trend towards banning the practice.

However, according to a Unicef report carried out in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, the practice is still being widely carried out, despite the fact that at least 24 of these countries have legislation or some form of decrees against FGM.

BBC Sudan analyst Mohaned Hashim notes that there have been previous attempts to ban FGM in Sudan but parliament under long-time leader Omar al-Bashir rejected the recommendations. He was overthrown in April 2019.

The amendment to the criminal law was approved on 22 April, Reuters news agency reports.

Under the amendment, anyone who performs FGM either inside a medical establishment or elsewhere faces three years’ imprisonment and a fine.

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