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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 1.18.31 PMNigeria made history by outlawing female genital mutilation. The  Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 was passed in the senate on May 5 and enacted at last week.

This was one of the last acts by the outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan. His successor, Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn into office Friday, May 29.

In a 2013 report from UNICEF, it stated that 19.9 million girls and women ages 15 to 49 have undergone genital mutilation in Nigeria. With the banning of genital mutilation, many are hoping that the act will be lessened and eventually stopped.

Stella Mukasa, director of Gender, Violence and Rights at the International Center for Research on Women, explains the complexity of the implementation of the new law banning FGM/C.

“It is crucial that we scale up efforts to change traditional cultural views that underpin violence against women,” she wrote in an article for “The Guardian.” “Only then will this harmful practice be eliminated.”

With the banning of genital mutilation in Nigeria, women’s rights groups and supporters can only hope that the ban will spread to other nations.

 

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