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Sunday, October 1, 2023

CSOs say gov’t must not deviate from obligations to protect welfare of women

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By Olimatou Coker

The Coalition of Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organisations have called on government of the Gambia to fulfill its obligations to protect the rights and welfare of women and girls.

Their comments came on the heels of a heated altercation between anti-FGM campaigners and Islamic religious leaders over the recent conviction of people engaged in FGM.

In a press release yesterday, the CSOs urged government to impartially uphold the law and ensure that those who partake in, support, or advocate for FGM face appropriate consequences.

They also demanded the protection of the rights and well-being of FGM victims.

 The CSOs said they will work tirelessly to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of FGM and replace the practice with culturally enriching alternatives that respect the dignity and well-being of women and girls.

“We invite all Gambians to stand with us in this endeavor for the Gambia where the rights and the dignity of every woman and girl are upheld and defended and we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that every girl and every woman in The Gambia, enjoys her fundamental human rights and has her dignity respected and protected,” the CSOs said.

“Furthermore, some public figures have openly supported the recently convicted individuals and continue to publicly advocate for the continuation of the practice of FGM despite the presence of a  law, criminalising it .

We also condemn in the strongest terms, the action of detractors who leverage social and religious devotion to promote their personal agendas at the detriment of women’s welfare. Our commitment remains centered on the experiences and realities of women and girls who endure the trauma of this harmful practice; their lives bearing indelible scars while their bodies are reduced to political tools. Regrettably, thousands more in The Gambia are still vulnerable to falling victim to this ordeal. It is these women whose voices matter,” the CSOs concluded.

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