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EDITORIAL: Repealing Gambia’s Female Genital Mutilation Law: A dangerous retrogressive move



In a shocking and disheartening turn of events, Gambian legislators have proposed a bill to repeal the country’s law banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

This move is a blatant attempt to undermine the hard-won progress made in protecting the rights and dignity of Gambian girls and women.

It is a retrograde step that will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for the health, well-being, and empowerment of women and girls in The Gambia.

FGM is a harmful and violent practice that has been widely recognized as a violation of human rights.

It involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, often performed on young girls without their consent or under coercion.

The practice has no medical benefits and can lead to severe physical and emotional trauma, including chronic pain, infertility, and even death.

The Gambia’s FGM law, enacted in 2015, was a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to combat this harmful practice.

The law criminalized FGM and provided a legal framework for protecting girls and women from this form of violence.

It also sent a powerful message that FGM is not acceptable in Gambian society.

The proposed repeal of the FGM law is a betrayal of the trust and confidence that Gambian citizens, particularly women and girls, have placed in their government.

It is a clear indication that some legislators are more interested in pandering to harmful cultural and traditional practices than in upholding the rights and dignity of their citizens.

Repealing the FGM law will have severe consequences for Gambian girls and women.

It will expose them to the risk of FGM, which can lead to serious health complications, including maternal and child mortality.

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It will also perpetuate the harmful and discriminatory attitudes that underpin FGM, reinforcing gender inequality and violence against women.

Moreover, repealing the FGM law will undermine The Gambia’s international reputation and commitments.

The country has ratified several international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

These treaties obligate The Gambia to protect the rights of women and girls, including their right to be free from FGM.

In conclusion, the attempt to repeal The Gambia’s FGM law is a dangerous and retrograde step that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

It is a betrayal of the trust and confidence of Gambian citizens, particularly women and girls, and will have severe consequences for their health, well-being, and empowerment.

We urge Gambian legislators to discard this proposal and uphold the commitment to protecting the rights and dignity of all citizens.

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