Sudan has banned female genital mutilation, completing a 10-year effort! At the moment, almost all women in the country are victims of this practice.
Sudan is under quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Despite the emergency, the government has not backed down from taking an important step to safeguard the rights of women and girls by banning female genital mutilation (FGM). Now, thanks to an amendment to the penal code, this practice will be punished with up to three years in prison and economic penalties. Thus the country of North East Africa joins others such as Somalia and Nigeria who are in the front line to eliminate this custom. The decision to ban this practice follows years of campaigns by activists and organisations fighting for women's and girls' rights.
It is crucial now to ensure that those who carry out the mutilations are punished. It is likely, in fact, that the adoption of the new law will not be enough to put an end to this ingrained custom. This is demonstrated by the case of Egypt, one of the countries with the highest rate of Mgf, where these continue despite being illegal, in a general climate of impunity. To stop them, it is necessary to work with communities because the intention is not to criminalise parents, but to inform the groups involved - midwives, health care workers, families and young people - of the adoption of the law and make sure they accept it.
While according to the United Nations (UN) 200 million women and girls worldwide are victims of genital mutilation, the number could be much higher. The estimate is in fact based on data from 31 countries, 27 of which are African, but according to a 2018 report there are more than 90 countries where significant numbers of MGF cases are recorded: not only in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, but also in states with migrant communities from these areas in Europe, North America and Latin America. Another study also highlights positive results such as the reduction in the number of women subject to Mgf in East Africa from over 70% in 1995 to 8% twenty years later.
It is important to celebrate advances such as that made by Sudan and to continue to campaign internationally through initiatives such as the World Day against Female Genital Mutilation. In addition, it is essential to recognize success stories in countries such as Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya and to apply their principles in all those contexts where women are not yet free to choose how to protect and enhance their bodies. (source: Lifegate.it)
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