Children's rights laws passed in South Kordofan; circumcision criminalized

by N. op 't Ende

11 November, 2008

Southern Kordofan State today signed into law three important bills protecting children’s rights.  The Legislative Council had passed them the previous day.  There was a festive ceremony under the trees around the Legislature involving hundreds of schoolchildren, MPs, government, UN, and NGOs.

The three laws are the Southern Kordofan Child Act, the Female Circumcision Prevention Act, and the Child Welfare Council Act.  

The Female Circumcision Prevention Act is believed to be the first law ever passed anywhere in Sudan specifically criminalizing FGM in all its forms.  It lays out tough penalties anyone who carries out, instigates or cooperates in the crime of female circumcision.  

Speakers at the ceremony spoke of the support that will be needed from parents, community, government, INGOs, NGOs and UN agencies to implement this law.  They said already FGM has become taboo to many parents, neighbors, witnesses, health staff (midwives) and other members of the South Kordofan community.  

There were speeches from NCP & SPLM, the Child Welfare Council, the chair of the Social Welfare, and Women & Child Affairs Committee, and the Deputy Speaker.  Some suggested designating Nov 10th as South Kordofan Child Day for annual commemorations.


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