As part of his attempts at social engineering, head of state Yahya Jammeh passed a law which came into effect on 1st January 1996 prohibiting the importation, sale, possession and use of skin bleaching in The Gambia.
Now, The Gambia government is trying to push through a bill at the National Assembly to repeal that law and effectively legalise skin bleaching in the country.
The Skin Bleaching (Prohibition) Repeal Bill, 2020 had its first reading at parliament Monday and will be tabled for a second reading by the attorney general on Thursday, 2nd July.
The bill as seen by The Standard outlined that the skin bleaching prohibition law was “found to be discriminatory against women and girls in The Gambia in furtherance of The Gambia’s international obligations and in line with the Constitution…”.
In its expressed objectives and reasons justifying the expungement of the skin bleaching prohibition law, the drafters noted: “This bill is the first of its kind in Africa for being the trailblazer for the recognition, observance and domestication of international obligations and commitments relating to women’s rights into domestic law. Since the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010, significant strides have been made to enforce the law and to protect women in line with the provisions of the Act. Section 25 of the Women’s Act recognized the need for periodic review of legislation every ten years to ensure further compliance with our international obligations as enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw), and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Right on the Rights of Women in Africa. This amendment is intended to review and amend the provisions of this Act that are discriminatory against women as mandated by Section 25 of the Women’s Act.”