Plan International welcomes the country’s move towards eradicating the practice, after its Sovereign Council ratified an amendment to the 1991 criminal law last week to include female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) as an offence punishable by imprisonment.
Major step forward for girls' rights
Anika Krstic, Plan International Country Director in Sudan, said: “This is a truly historic milestone, long awaited by millions of girls and women in Sudan. It is a major step forward in the fight for girls’ rights, gender equality and freedom for girls and women.”
We must continue the fight to ensure that the law is implemented and reinforced.
“To make this a reality, however, we must continue the fight to ensure that the law is implemented and reinforced.
“This is just the beginning. Now that the Sovereign Council has ratified the law, we must work to ensure its implementation. This can only happen if everyone – most importantly parents, secular and religious leaders, girls, youth, and young women – are made aware of this decision, its repercussions and their role in eradicating FGM/C.”
For the past two decades, Plan International has been working tirelessly to end FGM/C in Sudan, together with women and child rights advocates, UN, non-governmental organisations, donors and activists within the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) and the Saleema movement, launched in 2008.
The spirit of this amendment is fully in line with Plan International’s commitment to build a world where girls and women can learn, lead, decide and thrive.
Control over women's bodies under the guise of "honour"
FGM/C in Sudan is based on deeply rooted social norms, misconceptions and damaging gender stereotypes that impose control over women’s bodies and discriminate against girls and women under the guise of “protecting their honour”.
we must prepare to implement this law through clear accountability and tracking mechanisms
The practice has no health benefits and harms girls and women in many ways, robbing them of life opportunities and stopping them from reaching their full potential.
More than 86% of women and girls aged 15 to 49 in Sudan have undergone some form of FGM/C.
Although there is some evidence the practice is declining among girls under 10, it is feared that the COVID-19 pandemic could place more at risk, as lockdown measures have led to more frequent child marriages and gender-based violence.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of FGM annually. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM/C is widespread.
Policymakers in Sudan must fully uphold rights of women and girls
Plan International remains unrelenting in its commitment to end FGM/C in Sudan, working at grassroots community level and decision makers at all levels, and calls upon policymakers in Sudan to continue this positive engagement, ensure protection and to fully uphold the rights of women, girls and children.
“Now that Sudan as a nation has criminalised FGM/C, we must prepare to implement this law through clear accountability and tracking mechanisms, appropriate resource allocation and a nation-wide awareness campaign to shift attitudes and change behaviours so that FGM/C can be eliminated forever,” Ms Krstic added.