Sudanese State Passes New Law on Female Genital Mutilation
Monday, January 12, 2009 11:55 AM

The Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan passed a law in November 2008 criminalizing the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The law provides for up to ten years imprisonment if found guilty of an offense and also can provide compensation for families if a girl dies in the process. Attempting, assisting or abetting FGM is punishable with up to two years in prison. Other provisions include sentences for people who propagate FGM or who run centers where FGM is practiced, and repeat offenders face life imprisonment terms.

Under a former government, infibulation was outlawed nationally. However, the laws have since changed and there is no current federal regulation against the practice, according to a December 2008 report [PDF, 17 pages] by Landinfo.

Over two-thirds of women in Southern Kordofan have undergone FGM, according to a 2006 survey by the Federal Ministry of Health, and another report [PDF, 26 pages] states that over 90% of women have undergone FGM in some northern areas of the country, especially in rural areas.

However, changes are already occurring in the practice of FGM in Sudan. Previously, Pharonic or infibulation or Type III FGM, a more harmful form, was prevalent but is now being replaced by the less-intrusive Sunna form of FGM. Advocates hope that through education and policy changes, FGM will be completely eradicated in the future. In fact, the national government has an action plan in place with the aim to eliminate FGM and have zero-tolerance for the practice by 2018.

Compiled from: Sudan: It takes more than a law to stop the cut, IRIN, 5 January 2009; The National Strategy for Reproductive Health: 2006-2010, Federal Ministry of Health, Republic of Sudan, August 2006 [PDF, 26 pages]; Report: Female genital mutilation in Sudan and Somalia, Landinfo Country of Origin Information Centre, 10 December 2008 [PDF, 17 pages].