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USCIRF Commends the Criminalization of FGM in Sudan

May 5, 2020

USCIRF Commends the Criminalization of FGM in Sudan

Washington, DC - The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the decision of the Sudanese transitional government to outlaw the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) by making it punishable with up to three years of imprisonment and a fine. According to the United Nations, nine out of 10 Sudanese females aged 15 to 49 have undergone some form of genital mutilation, which can lead to a variety of physical and psychological problems.

Female genital mutilation is a dehumanizing form of sexual violence that is deeply rooted in religion, tradition, and culture. Outlawing FGM is an important step to protect the health and dignity of Sudanese women and girls,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said. “We commend Sudan’s transitional government on passage of the law. And, we urge the government to take additional steps and engage in a nationwide public education campaign to raise awareness of the law and the negative impacts of FGM, as well as establish a system to hold those who violate the new law accountable."

USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins stated, “Like repealing the public order law, this is another example of the transitional government making important and substantive legal reforms to reduce religious coercion against women in Sudan. We hope to see the government continue to implement social and political reforms that enhance fundamental human rights, including religious freedom.

In February, Chair Perkins and Commissioner Bhargava traveled to Sudan to assess religious freedom conditions. Due to the significant progress made by the Sudanese transitional government in 2019 to address the worst religious freedom abuses of the former regime, USCIRF recommended in its 2020 Annual Report that the Department of State maintain Sudan on its Special Watch List (SWL). This was the first time since 2000 that USCIRF has not recommended Sudan for designation as a “country of particular concern” for systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.


The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at media@uscirf.gov or Danielle Ashbahian at dashbahian@uscirf.gov.