“The Time to Implement (141) is Now”

Sudan has Officially Criminalized Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

FGM is Practiced in at Least 27 African Countries, and Parts of Asia and the Middle East

Haffiya Abdalla

The National Council for Child Welfare NCCW General Secretariat in collaboration with South Kordofan Government and Council for Child Welfare celebrated yesterday February 6th,2022 the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), under the theme ” The Time to Implement (141) is Now”, under the auspices of H.E Mosa Gibril the Wali of South Kordofan.

Sudan has made significant progress in opening up public discussion on FGM, changing attitudes towards the practice, and garnering support for its abandonment. Government, community, and NGO efforts and initiatives have been integral in promoting these changes, as has the incorporation of FGM discussions in a broad learning and awareness-raising package. Nevertheless, while important steps have been taken, more can be done at a local level to promote the widespread abandonment of FGM.

NCCW witnessed three important developments. Firstly, at the state level, two Acts outlawing FGM were adopted in the Northern and North Kordofan states, raising the proportion of the states of the Sudan where FGM is outlawed to one-third. The second is the adoption by the Federal Council of Ministers of an amendment to the Criminal Code to include an Article criminalizing the practice; it remains only to submit the amendment to the National Assembly for adoption.

Sudan officially criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM).

The change is the result of an amendment to Sudan’s Criminal Law Article 141. The act is defined as removing or mutilating “the female genitalia by cutting, mutilating or modifying any natural part of it leading to the full or partial loss of its functions.”

FGM is practiced in at least 27 African countries, and parts of Asia and the Middle East. It has been shown to lead to infections, infertility, psychological trauma, and a lifetime of other health complications. Although FGM is still practiced in countries where it has been criminalized,  such as in Egypt, the amendment has been praised as a step in the right direction for women’s rights in Sudan.

(NCCW) has confirmed its dependence on the youth in a positive change in Sudan with the possibilities they enjoyed.NCCW stated that the Council has organized the Youth Forum since 2016 as an effective program and has a clear impact on the community, calling for the forum to come up with creative initiatives that can be implemented in the community and contribute to positive change towards FGM and the reduction of child marriage, the forum comes to promote knowledge, skills of young people and raising awareness and capaciy_building, strengthening youth mechanism and youth networks to ensure the participation of young people in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of projects and activities of FGM.

The Saleema initiative, launched in 2008 by the National Council of Child Welfare (NCCW) and UNICEF Sudan, supports the protection of girls from genital cutting, particularly in the context of efforts to promote collective abandonment of the practice in the community level. Saleema is a word that means whole, healthy in body and mind, unharmed, intact, pristine, and untouched, in a God-given condition. The broad objective of Saleema is to change the way that people talk about female genital cutting by promoting, at the community level, the wide usage of new positive terminology to describe the natural bodies of girls and women.

Since the Saleema Initiative began in 2009, the ideal of keeping girls saleema has spread throughout Sudan, and also created interest in neighboring countries such as Somalia and Egypt.

The Saleema model of positive communication is Sudan’s gift to building the best future for girls and women everywhere.

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