The legal situation in the countries of origin

A large majority of the states have passed legislation prohibiting female genital cutting, FGM/C, and making it a criminal offence.

FGM/C is practised in at least 29 African countries as well as in a few other countries in Asia and the Middle East. A large majority of the countries have enacted legislation explicitly criminalising the practice of FGM/C. The prescribed punishments range from prison terms of three months up to lifelong imprisonment, and, in some states, a fine.
For information and data relating to the prevalence of FGM/C in various African countries, see UNICEF, Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting Country Profiles.

The countries in which FGM/C is explicitly prohibited by law, or at least by constitutional provision, are listed below (in alphabetical order). The name of the country is followed by the year in which the corresponding legislation was enacted. A link to the text of the legislation has been provided wherever possible.

  Country Year Notes
1 Egypt 2008  
2 Ethiopia 2007  
3 Benin 2003  
4 Burkina Faso 1996  
5 Djibouti 1994  
6 Ivory Coast 1998  
7 Eritrea 2007 Proclamation No. 158/2007 of 2007, A Proclamation to Abolish Female Circumcision of 20 March 2007
8 Gambia 2015  
9 Ghana 1994 amended 2007
10 Guinea 1965 amended 2000
11 Guinea-Bissau 2011  
12 Kenya 2001 Children Act No. 8 of 2001; Art. 14; 2011 Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act No. 32 – see
13 Mauritania 2005  
14 Niger 2003  
15 Nigeria 2015 Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 (VAPP) of 25 May 2015; in some federated entities as early as 1999-2002
16 Senegal 1999  
17 Somalia 2012 Art. 15(4) Provisional Constitution of 1 August 2012; Puntland: 2014
18 Sudan 2020 Amendment to the Criminal Law Article 141
19 South Africa 2005  
20 Tanzania 1998  
21 Togo 1998  
22 Chad 2003  
23 Uganda 2010 Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act
24 Yemen 2001  
25 Central African Republic 1966 amended 1996

In Iraq, FGM/C is prohibited by law in the region of Kurdistan. However, some countries, such as Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone, still have no legal basis explicitly prohibiting FGM/C up to the present time.

A survey of the legal situation in EU member states can be found in: European Institute for Gender Equality, Female genital mutilation in the European Union and Croatia, 2013, p. 96.