South Sudan


Key Findings

UNICEF has previously reported prevalence at 1% among women aged 15–49 years. There are no recent surveys to confirm this figure.

Almost 32,000 women were affected by gender-based violence in the two years after conflict broke out.

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Development Indicators


15,054,653 (28 May 2020 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

63.7 deaths per 1,000 live births (2019)

Maternal Mortality Rate

1,150 deaths per 100,000 live births (2017)


34.5% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

In 2015 the United Nations Population Fund estimated that almost 32,000 women in South Sudan had been affected by gender-based violence in the two years since conflict broke out.  As well as victims of sexual and physical violence, victims of FGM and child marriage were included in this estimate.

UNICEF previously reported the prevalence of FGM in South Sudan to be 1% among women aged 15–49, but there are no recent surveys to confirm this figure.

FGM has been reported in both Christian and Muslim communities, particularly in the northern regions of the country, including Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, both of which border Sudan, where the prevalence of FGM is 86.6%.  These are also the regions where camps for displaced Sudanese are located, and it is therefore likely that this accounts for the higher prevalence in these regions.

FGM Legislation in South Sudan

Under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011), laws that applied in the ten states of Southern Sudan before it separated from Sudan are still in force.  In South Sudan, both the Penal Code Act 2008 and the Child Act 2008 criminalise FGM and, therefore, remain in force as per the Transitional Constitution.

The Child Act gives a comprehensive definition of FGM and criminalises all forms of FGM performed on children under the age of 18.  The Penal Code does not specifically define FGM, but under Section 259 criminalises the practice and punishes anyone who ‘makes or causes a Female Genital Mutilation to be performed’ (at any age). 

It is not known to what extent the laws against FGM under the Child Act or Penal Code have been used in South Sudan.  There is an absence of information on any cases brought to court and their outcomes.

See South Sudan: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for South Sudan