Home | Press Releases    Wednesday 25 February 2009

Letter to Sudan President on female genital cutting

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His Excellency President, Omer Hassan Ahmed Al Basheer

His Excellency First Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit

His Excellency Vice President, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha

Honorable Minister of Justice

Honorable Minster of Health

Honorable Minster of Social Welfare and Women and Child Affairs

Secretary-General of the National Council for Child Welfare

The Council of the Ministers

Secretary-General of the National Council for Strategic Planning

Chairperson of the Sudan Medical Council

Secretary-General of the Sudan Medical Council

The Rapporteur of the Advisory Board for Human Rights

The Chairperson and Members of the Association of the of Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists

The Chairperson and Members of the Association of the Pediatrics Specialists.

Re: Memorandum on the Repeal of Article (13) in the Child Act, 2009
In this crucial moment of the history of our beloved Sudan, we would like to address you with great hope that this memorandum will meet your full attention along with your immediate response, we all expect from you a positive response to this memorandum as it presents fair and objective claims relevant to the protection and safeguarding of the heath of women and girls, and the protection and promotion of their rights.

The Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of most hazardous practices that endanger the bodily integrity, physical and psychological health of women and girls in Sudan. According to the 2006 Sudan Household Survey (SHHS) implemented by the Ministry of Health and the Central Bureau of Statistics, the practice of FGM among girl Children in Sudan amounts to %69.4. This aggravating fact was encountered by sincere efforts led by the Sudanese educated, intellectuals, enlightened religious men, Sufi sects since the era of Shaiekh Hamad Wad Umm Maryoum. Also, the non governmental and voluntary efforts to eliminate the FGM practice continued. Realizing the gravity of the FGM and its negative health, psychological, economical and social consequences, the State has adopted the National Strategy for the Elimination of FGM 208-2018 in partnership with the civil society organizations, the UN Agencies and the specialized international organizations.

Furthermore, the State has ratified many regional and international treaties and conventions that protect child rights; on the top of it is the Child Rights Convention, which Sudan has taken the initiative to ratify. These efforts framed the official stand of the Government against the FGM through the following national, regional and international obligations:

National Obligations:

Sudan Declaration on Safe Motherhood, 1999;
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 2005;
Article 32 (1) of the Bill of Rights in the Interim Constitution of the Republic of Sudan, 2005, which states: “The State shall combat harmful customs and traditions which undermine the dignity and the status of women”;
The Directives of the Quarter- Century Strategy 2007-2031;
The National policy for Population as per Resolution No.48 of the Sudan Council Of Ministers 2002, which reads “The studies available on the practice of harmful customs reaffirmed the association between FGM and the pregnancy and childbirth complications. In spite of the efforts exerted to eliminate FGM, the practice is still very common; more than % 80 of females undergo FGM practice in Sudan”;
The Strategy and Work Plan to Eliminate FGM in Sudan, Federal Ministry of Health 2001, signed by the Minster of Health;
National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, Ministry of Social Welfare and Women Affairs, March 2007, signed by the President of the Republic of Sudan. It identified the widely practiced FGM as one of the most critical challenges that empowerment of women faces, and aimed at uprooting FGM practice;
Resolution No.366 of the Sudan Medical Council, which reads: "Based on the fundamental principle rule that there should be neither harm nor malice". The Sudan Medical Council issued the following recommendation: "doctors are not allowed to practice any deed that causes harm, or of suspicion of harm to any human being, including Female Genital Mutilation, in its all forms";
Resolution No. 29 of the National Assembly, dated 20/06/2007 to enact legislations necessary to prohibit FGM, highlighting the necessity of fighting all harmful customs, and calling the relevant institutions to support these efforts.

Regional Obligations:

Article 21, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
Dakar Declaration on the "Violence Against Women, Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation: the Role of National Parliaments ", December 2005;
Rabat Declaration on Child’s Issues in the Islamic World, issued by the First Islamic Ministerial Conference for The Ministers in charge of Childhood Affairs, November 2005;
Khartoum Declaration on Child Issues in the Islamic World, issued by the Second Islamic Ministerial Conference for The Ministers in Charge of Child Affairs, February 2009 called for "Take[ing] the necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls and all harmful traditional or customary practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, in the light of the relevant declarations, instruments, and conventions".

International Obligations:

Millennium Developmental Objectives (MDGs);
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, September 1995;
Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article (19);
Resolution No.51/2, Ending Female Genital Mutilation, the Fifty First Session of the Commission of the Status of Women, the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination and Violence Against the Girl Child, 2007.
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the resolution issued by the Council of Ministers, dated 05/02/2009, withdrawing article (13) of the draft Child Act, which prohibits and criminalizes FGM. We are also concerned of inserting the same article in the Criminal Act, upon legalization of the so called "Islamic FGM". This contravenes the state strategy and its national, regional and international obligations to eliminate the FGM, in its all forms. The decision of withdrawing article (13) is an abortion of the national formal and informal efforts which have been solidly exerted to affirm the need for a legislation that prohibits and criminalizes FGM in its all forms and with no exception in order to protect the health and integrity of the Sudanese women and girls.

Addressing you with this regard, we declare refutation of any exception or any legislation that legalizes any form of the FGM. We urge you to re-include article (13) as it is originally drafted in the Child Act, based on the following:

Firstly: the national and international obligations of the Sudan.

Secondly: the health harm caused by FGM as proved by scientific studies and research, and life experiences as well as what was publicized by the national and international official medical institutions alerting public attention to the high parentage of mothers’ mortality during childbirth which tops 11 women in each one thousand childbirths. It is one of the direct consequences of this harmful practice.

Thirdly, a legislation that allows any form of FGM, would encourage practicing all other FGM forms.

Thus, we call for the following:

- Re-include article (13) in the Child Act to prohibit and criminalize FGM, and integrating the same article in other acts and bylaws if necessary
Work to implement the national Strategy and Work Plan to Eliminate FGM in Sudan
- The State is to comply with its reference institutions specialized in medical and health issues, represented by:
- The Ministry of Health
- The Sudan Medical Council
- The Association of the of Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists
- The Association of Pediatrics Specialists

We submit this memorandum, in this historical condition that faces the march of our country, hoping to and working for promoting the values of human rights and the protection and enhancement of women and child rights.

Undersigned

Institute Name Signature

cc to:

- The Chairperson and members of the National Assembly
- Local Civil Society Organizations
- Untried Nations Secretary General
- The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on Violence against Women,
- UN specialized agencies:
- UNICEF
- UNDP
- UNFPA
- WHO
- UNIFEM
- UNMIS
- Child Rights International Committee (CRC)
- Embassies in Sudan
- National and international media organs
- International Organizations:

- Islamic Conference Organization (ICO)
- Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO)
- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung,
- Save the Children, Sweden
- Save the Children, USA
- Save the Children, UK
- Plan Sudan
- Oxfam
- Care International
- Goal
- DED
- Red Crescent
- International Red Cross

signatories

Democratic Unionist Party

Sudanese Communist Party

National Alliance of Sudan

Sudanese Women’s Union

National Democratic Women’s Caucus

New Democratic Forces Movement

Babiker Badr Scientific Association

Ashaad Association

Darfur International Agency

Sudan Freedom Movement

Sudanese Women’s General Union

Sudanese Association for Development

Network for Human Rights and Legal Aid – Students’ Committee

Human Rights Organization

Social and Human Development Consultancy Group

Ahlam Childcare Charitable Organization

Sudanese Centre of Culture and Development

Human Rights’ Media Centre

U of K – Law Faculty

Social Civil Platform

Sudanese Studies Centre

Legal Platform Organization

Civil Society Initiative for Peace

National Society for Combating Harmful Traditional Practices

National Network Against FGM and Harmful Traditional Practices

Teacher First Organization

Socialist Medical Association

Sudanese Centre for Union Rights and Human Rights

Women’s Initiative Group

Friends of the Child and Family Association

AlKhair wa Albaraka Association

Alshawshab Centre for the Development of Society

The Democratic Platform of Darfur

Amal Centre for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence

Arab Baath Socialist Party

Youth Peace Association

Marafi Association for Sustainable Development

Sudan for All Organization

Network of Arab Women (Aisha)

Saalma Centre for Resources and Women Studies

Asma Association for Development

The Environmentalist Association

Centre for Gender

Sudanese Association for Environmental Protection

Afiya Sudan

Edena lil Balad Association

Sudanese Youth Union

The Development of Young Children Association

Sudanese Network for the Abolition of FGM

Network of Human Rights and Legal Aid

Strategic Initiative – Sayha

World Centre for the Culture of Peace

National Organization for Human Development

Justice Party

COMOCS

Dimbior Organization for Development and Reconstruction

The Nation’s National Security

United Liberal Democratic Party

GPC

Congress Party of Sudan

Sudanese Organization for Research and Development

Khatim Adlan Centre

Alaq Centre for Press Services

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement

Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development

Journalists for Human Rights

Child Rights Institute (CRI)

Music for All Organization

Asma Association for Women

Jewiriya Bint al Harith Association

Asala Association for Women

Dar es Salam Association for Women

Al-Hadaf Association for Women

Cultural Centre of Action

Mutawinat Charitable Company

Rad al Jameel Charitable Organization

Sudanese National AIDS Program (SNAP)

Fashoda Alniswi Organization

Alsafat Organization

John Garang Organization

Noor Al-Nisa Charitable Organization

Al-Sadiqat Charity

General Department for Women and Family

Shimoos Sudanese Organization for Disabled Women

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 25 February 2009 13:09, by Abuhadia Society for Women and Community Development

    It very good memorandum , following up this issue i suggest to initiate Sudan coalition to eradicate FGM practice include civil activists , bodies and registered networks to join their lobbing and advocacy efforts and that should be extend to include actors from all over the country .
    Elmutalib ibrahim for Abuhadia Society for Women and Community Development - Red Sea State - www.abuhadia.org

    repondre message

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