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Uganda: New Law Bans Female Genital Mutilation

(Dec. 22, 2009) On December 10, 2009, the Ugandan Parliament passed a law banning the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). (Daniel Edyegu, Sensitise Public on Female Circumcision Law, THE NEW VISION, Dec. 15, 2009, available at one”>http://allafrica.com/stories/200912160586.html.) The bill has been sent to the President of Uganda for his assent. (Parliament Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation, Parliament of the Republic of Uganda website, Dec. 11, 2009, available at http://www.parliament.go.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&a
mp;id=558&Itemid=65
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The bill imposes harsh penalties for participation in the practice of FGM. A person convicted of the practice faces a sentence of up to ten years in prison. (Id.) In the case of what is called aggravated FGM, when the practice causes death or disability or results in the victim's infection with HIV/AIDS, the punishment is life imprisonment. (Id.) Anyone who provides aid or in any way takes part in the practice is liable, on conviction, to a prison term of up to five years. (Id.)

According to Beatrice Lagada, chairperson of the parliamentary committee on the FGM bill, the Ugandan government has earmarked UGX500 million (about US$260,417) to raise public awareness of the new law. (Edyegu, supra.)