By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Committee Against Traditional Practices Affecting The Health of Women and Children, GAMCOTRAP, has called on the state to uphold the anti-Female Genital Mutilation law to protect the girl child.
The group foremost in the campaign against the practice made this declaration at a day-long policy dialogue which focused on the importance of upholding the Anti-FGM Law to protect girls.
The forum was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and Child Protection Alliance held at Bakadaji Hotel in Kololi.
The event aimed to emphasise the significance of maintaining the law that bans FGM, following years of advocacy and the enactment of the FGM Law to protect the rights of women and children in The Gambia.
This initiative is in response to recent attempts by some members of the National Assembly to repeal the law banning FGM, particularly in light of a recent court ruling that found two women and the circumciser guilty of breaking the law and convicted them accordingly.
Dr Isatou Touray, the Executive Director of GAMCOTRAP, said the aim is to continue working closely with key partners in safeguarding the rights of children, particularly the girl-child through the effective implementation of the FGM law which is facing threat of repeal by some religious leaders and National Assembly Members.
In response to this situation, GAMCOTRAP and partners are working to build on this momentum to serve as an immediate strategic response to the current situation to uphold the law.
“We gather here at this vital policy dialogue on upholding the FGM Law to protect the girl child, underscoring the urgency of our cause, especially in the context of the current global call to end FGM and all forms of violence against women and girls.”
She added that the law banning FGM stands as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a future where every girl child can grow up free from the shadows of fear and pain. “It represents not just legislation but a pledge to safeguard the innocence and dreams of our daughters. Upholding this law is our collective promise to the girl child, an affirmation that her rights are non-negotiable, her dignity inviolable, and her future limitless. This is the Gambia I envision.”
Musa Camara, the regional director of health services Western 1, said sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls need to be protected and nurtured for improved health and well-being.