Female genital mutilation (FGM) is still a common practice in Sudan. Nine out of ten women have been subjected to this practice.

In 2009, a proposed ban on FGM in the National Child Act miserably failed to materialize. In spite of the failure of a national law against FGM, with extensive funding from UNICEF and UNFPA, several of Sudan’s eighteen states have criminalized this harmful traditional practice.

One of these states is Red Sea, located in eastern Sudan. Red Sea is known for being extremely conservative when it comes to women’s rights, and FGM is widely practiced. We chose to investigate the criminalization process in Red Sea out of a genuine desire to study a positive example of a state that had managed to introduce a ban on FGM against all odds. Instead, we found a “paper tiger” law that does not protect girls against FGM.

Liv Tønnessen

Director of Center on Law and Social Transformation and Senior Researcher