Saturday, April 13, 2024

Gambia’s attempt to reverse a ban on female genital mutilation

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Gambia is attempting to reverse a ban on female circumcision also known as female genital mutilation with the country’s parliament already admitting such a bill on this.

The lawmakers on Monday started debating whether to repeal the ban which has been in place since 2015.

Gambia imposed fines and jail sentences as part of the law enforcing the ban that intends stopping people from carrying out female circumcision.

Despite the ban, FGM has been on the rise in recent years amid activist campaigns to end the practice.

Calls for the reversal of the ban grew more particularly since President Adama Barrow came to power in 2017.

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Gambia’s Supreme Islamic Council recently said female circumcision was one of the virtues of Islam.

Members of parliament have come out both in favour of and against the bill. But the lawmakers on Monday voted to send the bill to a parliamentary committee for review, the parliament’s speaker said.

The committee can make amendments to the bill and should send it back to the national assembly for a vote, a routine procedure which usually takes at least 3 months.

The Gambian lawmaker Almameh Gibba who presented the repeal bill earlier this month argued that the ban violates citizens’ rights to practice their culture and religion.

But the World Health Organization says the practice has no health benefits and can lead to excessive bleeding, shock, psychological problems and even death.

If the bill is passed eventually, Gambia would then become the first country to reverse a ban on FGM.

Over 230 million women and girls from 200 million eight years ago have undergone FGM worldwide, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported earlier this month.

African countries lead with over 144 million cases, followed by over 80 million in Asia and over 6 million in the Middle East.

Somalia: First FGM prosecution after death of a victim


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