female genital mutilation

Nigeria Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation

Nigerian flag. Image via STILLFX/shutterstock.com

Nigerian flag. Image via STILLFX/shutterstock.com

Late last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure that criminalized the act of female genital mutilation in the country.

More than 125 million girls and women are thought to have suffered genital mutilation, a majority of them in Africa, according to The Root

The Root reports

"Some 19.9 million Nigerian women living today are thought to have undergone the practice, and human rights advocates hope the decision will spur about 26 other African countries to outlaw the procedure, the report says.

Nigeria’s groundbreaking legislation sends “a powerful signal not only within Nigeria but across Africa,” according to J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council."

The measure, one of outgoing president Jonathan's last acts, sets up president-elect Buhari to uphold the law without fear of political backlash.

Human rights groups have responded positively to the measure but caution that one measure in one country, while regionally significant, is only one step towards ending worldwide violence against women.

Join us in urging our Members of Congress to co-sponsor the 2015 International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), to help protect women in humanitarian crises from violence, in Nigeria and around the world.