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CPA cautions Assembly over consequences of repealing FGM law

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By Omar Bah

The Child Protection Alliance, CPA, has cautioned the National Assembly over the consequences of repealing the law banning Female Genital Mutilation in The Gambia.

In a position paper shared with the National Assembly committee on health seen by The Standard, the CPA expressed its total opposition to the repealing of the ban and reminded lawmakers that they are obligated to uphold both local and international laws.

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“The National Assembly has a constitutional mandate to ensure that the State fulfils its domestic, regional, and international obligations as set out in national, regional, and international laws. The impact of this bill, therefore, will only make The Gambia renege on its domestic, regional, and international commitments, hence further endangering the rights and dignity of girls and women. This bill serves no national benefit other than to put the name and dignity of the Republic of the Gambia into disrepute in the eyes of the world. It will be an unprecedented and unique setback never seen before,” CPA added.

The Alliance also reminded NAMs of their legal obligation to ensure that all international agreements they ratify are upheld.

“The National Assembly has a duty to monitor the Government to ensure that both domestic and international laws are enforced to protect the rights of citizens, especially girls and women. This bill must be rejected in total. Instead, the National Assembly should strengthen its oversight function to ensure that public institutions are performing their duties to protect and fulfill human rights,” it stated in a position paper signed by its national coordinator, Lamin Fatty.

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The CPA argued that contrary to the claims of the mover of the bill that banning FGM contravenes the principles of international law, which guarantees the preservation and practice of culture, both regional and international laws have unambiguously stipulated the abolition of the practice.

“Hence, this bill is a direct violation of both the Gambian Constitution and regional and international laws which have already been ratified by the Gambia.”

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