Welcome for Sudan’s decision to ban female genital mutilation

In Sudan, where the passing of a law criminalising female genital mutilation – FGM for short – has been welcomed by UN Children’s Fund UNICEF.

Almost nine in 10 girls in the country are believed to suffer from ritual genital cutting, which the transitional government that came to power last year, has now banned.

Under the new legislation, anyone carrying out FGM could be jailed for years and fined.

But in a statement, UNICEF said that much more work was needed to convince families to follow the Government’s lead.

It highlighted how the practice was “a violation of every girl child’s rights” which had serious consequences for a girl’s physical and mental health.

Despite the high prevalence of FGM in Sudan, the UN agency highlighted a recent survey showing potential evidence of a decline in the practice on younger girls, from 37 per cent in 2010 to 31.5 in 2014.

Globally, it is estimated that some 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of FGM, according to the UN Population Fund UNFPA.