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Amnesty Int’l warns Gambia not to lift ban on FGM

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The world’s leading human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has cautioned the government of The Gambia against lifting the ban on female genital mutilation.

In a statement released over the weekend, AI’s senior researcher for West and Central Africa, Michèle Eken, said: “The Gambia parliament is expected to vote on a bill on 18 March to reverse the ban on female genital mutilation (FGM).

“This bill would set a dangerous precedent for women’s rights and tarnish The Gambia’s human rights record. We urge parliament to vote against it. It is very disappointing that after the long fight Gambian activists put up to advance women’s rights, parliament is preparing to consider this backward move. The Gambia government needs to address the root causes and drivers of FGM and implement comprehensive policies for women and girls’ empowerment

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“FGM infringes on girls and women’s right to health and bodily integrity. Legalising it would be a violation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw), the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, all of which The Gambia ratified. It would also violate the principle of ‘equal dignity of the person’ guaranteed in the Gambian Constitution. 

“Furthermore, the Gambian government needs to address the root causes and drivers of FGM and implement comprehensive policies for women and girls’ empowerment to claim and exercise their human rights.”

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