Uganda's parliament has approved a bill banning female genital mutilation.
Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo said that the new law, passed without opposition late Thursday, could give offenders a life sentence.
Female genital mutilation, also known as female circumcision, is prevalent in portions of West and East Africa to limit women's sexual activity. More than 3,000 girls are affected each December in northeastern Uganda.
The girl's clitoris and sometimes other genital parts are removed. Doctors say it eliminates any pleasure for women during sex and can lead to complications during childbirth.
Female genital mutilation is illegal in more than a dozen African countries, although laws are rarely enforced.