Sudan Accelerates Action to Abandon Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C)
Khartoum, 6 February 2013 – Today marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) - observed each year to raise awareness about this practice. Female genital mutilation of any type has been recognized as a harmful practice and violation of the human rights of girls and women.
“The practice is not only deeply harmful, but a violation of their human rights. Given the progress that has been made, now is not the time to divert our attention from this issue.”According to the Sudan Household Survey in 2010, girls at risk of FGM/C (0-14) had a lower prevalence rate of 37.0 per cent than in 2006 (43 per cent). Hence fewer girls are subjected to the life-threatening practice. The data also shows that that over half of women and two thirds of men believed the practice should be discontinued, and have no intention of cutting their daughters. This is a significant increase from previous years.
This significant shift in attitudes is reinforced by other developments in Sudanese society – including: the implementation since 2008 of a national strategy to accelerate the abandonment of FGM/C; legislation banning this practice in five Sudanese states; religious scholars stepping forward and explicitly disassociating Islam from FGM/C; prohibition by the Medical Council Resolution of doctors practicing any form of FGM/C; and a shift from periodic activist-driven campaigns focussed on breaking public silence around FGM/C to a broad-based social movement with increasing endorsement and participation by mainstream figures and organizations.“The progress here and in other countries shows it is possible to end FGM/C” said UNICEF Representative in Sudan Geert Cappelaere. “The practice is not only deeply harmful, but a violation of their human rights. Given the progress that has been made, now is not the time to divert our attention from this issue.”
“In Sudan, like in many other parts of the world, much has been achieved in reaching targets of abandonment of all types of FGM/C “says Pamela Delray, UNFPA representative in Sudan “But alot needs to be done and needs combined efforts from all partners - from government, parliamentarians, religious scholars, civil society organizations and local communities and media to accomplish the government strategic plan to abandon FGM/C within a generation.”
“The saleema national campaign in Sudan reaches out using mass media and community participation for collective abandonment ,” says Amal Mahmoud, the Secretary General of the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW). “It is part of the positive social transformation approach endorsed by the National Strategy to abandon FGM/C within a generation”. The NCCW, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF Joint Programme on FGM/C are currently making progress in preventing girls and future generations from being exposed to the harmful practice.
The unanimous adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution in December 2012 calling on member states to intensify efforts toward the complete elimination of FGM/C will encourage the acceleration of abandonment in many countries, including Sudan.
Awatif Alshibli-Communication Analyst
Tel: +249 183 278792
Samira A Ahmed
Child Protection Specialist
Tel.:+(249)156553670 ext (105)