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Sudan criminalises female genital mutilation

South Sudan NEWS PORTAL (JUBA CITY)

Sudan’s sovereign council, the highest authority in the country, on Friday ratified a law criminalising female genital mutilation, the justice ministry announced.

The council, comprising military and civilian authorities, approved a series of laws including one “criminalising” the age-old practice known as FGM or genital cutting that “undermines the dignity of women,” a statement said.

Earlier this year, Sudan’s cabinet approved amendments to the criminal code that would punish those who perform the operation with up to three years in prison and a fine.

Nearly nine out of 10 girls in Sudan fall victim to FGM, according to the United Nations.

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In its most brutal form, it involves the removal of the labia and clitoris, often in unsanitary conditions and without anaesthesia.

Rights groups have for years decried as barbaric the practice, which can lead to myriad physical, psychological and sexual complications and, in the most tragic cases, death.

The justice ministry’s statement said doctors or health workers who carry out genital cutting would be penalised under the new law, and hospitals, clinics or other places where the operation was conducted would be shut.

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