Khartoum — THE outlawing of female genital mutilation (FGM) has been hailed as a groundbreaking achievement for Sudan.
Sudan has one of the highest rates of the practice - also known as female circumcision in the world.
Around 88 percent of women and girls from 15 to 49 years old have undergone some form of FGM in Sudan, according to the most recent data from the government.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) thus said the criminalisation of FGM by the country was a historic victory for public health, human rights and gender equality.
"Banning female genital mutilation is a landmark achievement for Sudan," Massimo Diana, UNFPA representative in Sudan, said.
She said now that FGM was banned, the organisation must work with communities to ensure that practice followed the government's policy.
Osman Abufatima, Secretary-General of the National Council of Child Welfare, also welcomed the outlawing of FGM, effective last Thursday.
"It is a historical and outstanding day," Abufatima said.
Around 200 million girls and women across the world have undergone some form of FGM.
It is the practice of partially or totally removing the external female genitalia or causing injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
Critics of the practice argue girls subjected to FGM are denied their right to health and human rights.
Immediate risks include hemorrhage, shock and infections.
Long term effects include lingering mental health effects to sustained pain.