Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (30 April) on the fight against genital mutilation in the Sudan:
An important step has now been taken in the Sudan in the fight against genital mutilation. On 27 April 2020, a new paragraph was added to the Sudanese criminal code criminalising female genital mutilation. I am very happy at this move to strengthen human rights and especially the rights of women and girls in the Sudan. The fact that the Minister of Religious Affairs backed this legal amendment and that it was adopted through a joint decision by the Sovereign Council and the Cabinet sends a strong signal.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread practice in the Sudan. According to UNICEF, 87% of all women aged between 15 and 49 have undergone some form of FGM. It has to be assumed that type III FGM (in which all visible genitalia are removed and the wound sewn up) remains widespread. There has always been an active civil society in the Sudan that rejected the widespread practice of FGM. The Sudanese criminal code’s new paragraph 141 provides for punishments ranging from a fine to up to three years’ imprisonment and allows for the possibility of closing down the institution which carried out the FGM. The German Government supports a regional project working to prevent FGM in the Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.