Sudan ratifies law banning of widespread female genital mutilation, the justice minitry announced on Friday, handling the movement for woman’s right in the African country a long sought victory.
A set of sweeping amendments as passed to the country’s criminal code late Thursday by the Sovereign Council.
The draft law had been approved by the transitional government that came to power last year following the ouster of Omar al-Bashir.
Sudan women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to the procedure. but they have ban the procedure and anyone found guilty of performing the procedure will be sentenced to up to three years in prison, according to new law passed by the association press.
Female genital mutilation “degrades the dignity of women,” the justice ministry declared in its statement. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok hailed the decision as “an important step in reforming the justice system.”
The ratification achieved a decades-long goal of women’s rights advocates and represented a win for the country’s technocratic leaders, who have been struggling to push democratic changes and roll back al-Bashir’s legacy despite the persistent power of army generals in Sudan.
During the time of al-Bashir rule in sudan, clerics said forms of female genital mutilation were religiously allowed, arguing that the only debate was whether it was required or not.
While many were elated by the the law’s long-awaited passing, rights groups warned that the practice remains deeply entrenched in the region’s conservative society and that enforcement poses a steep challenge.
In neighboring Egypt, for example, where genital cutting was banned in 2008 and elevated to a felony in 2016, a government survey still found that nearly nine of every 10 Egyptian women had undergone the procedure.
“Legal reviews and amendments will continue,” Hamdok pledged, “until we address all distortions in the legal systems in Sudan.”