UNICEF welcomes move by Sudan’s transitional gov’t to criminalize female genital mutilation

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Saturday welcomed the landmark move by Sudan’s transitional government this week to criminalize female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) with a three-year jail sentence for offenders.

“This practice is not only a violation of every girl child’s rights, it is harmful and has serious consequences for a girl’s physical and mental health,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF representative in Sudan.

“This is why governments and communities alike must take immediate action to put an end to this practice,” he added.

The move comes following years of persistent and forceful advocacy, including by Sudan’s National Council for Child Welfare, women and child advocates, UN agencies and international, national and community-based organizations.

Estimates show that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in the countries where the practice is concentrated, according to the World Health Organization.