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City of Banjul
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Girl to undergo FGM in Gambia?

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This development was confirmed last week by Australian Federal Police to Guardian Australia and that investigations were undergoing on the matter. 

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The police, however, would not give out any details but said the girl’s father is suspected to have been behind the case.

Sources within the city’s West African community say the girl, originally from Sierra Leone, travelled to Africa before Christmas with her father to undergo the procedure. It is understood there that she may have travelled to The Gambia but the police are still trying to ascertain where she is.

Reports indicated FGM is illegal in every state and territory in Australia and it was also illegal to take girls out of that country for the purpose of having the procedure carried out on them. The girl, who is believed to be between four and seven years old, is yet to return to Australia and there are concerns for her welfare.

Meanwhile, female genital mutilation otherwise called female circumcision is prevalent in The Gambia and according to a 2013 report, an estimated 76.3% of girls and women have been subjected to the practice. The age when FGM is done on Gambian girls ranges from 7 days after birth up to pre-adolescence. The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices is one of the leading rights groups campaigning against the practice in the country.  However, commitment to abandon the traditional practice has not been embraced by the larger portion of the population. This is because the larger percentage of the population is Muslims and hold on to the view that it is part of their faith. Many others also believe the practice complements the corporate existence of their culture.  

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